How to Teach Mood: Writing Personal Narratives

Some of you already know that narrative writing is HUGE in fourth grade so it's a good thing it's my favorite writing unit.  Well, it just got even better because I found a great sensory details anchor chart on Pinterest!  Our school accidentally over-ordered huge poster paper, so I've been making the most of it this year.  This one outlined another writing lesson on creating mood in a personal narrative.

Exemplars for Sensory Details

The mood anchor chart on ChartChums has a pig, which I changed to a child, but otherwise it worked for my needs.  I hung the poster as a visual, and played, well, basically charades with my class.  I wrote 5 different emotions on cards from my narratives writing unit.  Then I pulled names "out of a hat."  They got to come up and choose a card with an emotion written on it.  By giving them the detail and allowing them to practice it in a context, they can learn from all the examples they see.
Once everyone had a card, I had one student at a time come up with volunteers from their group to act out their emotion.  We already practiced dialogue as well as shades of meaning with words that indicate speaking.  So I gave them each a simple phrase to say for "voice" and cued one person at a time to say it.  I also sometimes "paused" the kids and cued the rest of the class to look at just facial expression since body language involves movement, like we practiced last time that can distract from the nuances on their faces.

The kids really got into it, and by the end of the activity, kids had many examples of sensory details in mind.  Of course not every detail fits everyone's story, but hopefully they had one or two that were applicable to their stories.  When you do this activity make sure you plan for time for them to revise their writing soon after (immediately after, if possible). 

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