If you're like me, you might have quickly side-stepped away from a writing conferencing calling out the wisdom, "You need to develop your paragraphs!" Why the hasty exit you ask? Well...how the heck do you teach a kid to develop a paragraph?! It just like happens or doesn't happen...kinda like the weather. Well, after wading through a preponderance of soggy released essays from the spring, development continued to float to the top of my priority list.
Remember our hand model for the Short Answer Questions? Well, Lori and I dusted off some of those question stems to help us out in this predicament.
Let's play, and you'll see what I mean...
What's your favorite food?
My favorite food is pizza.
How do you know?
Well, I certainly eat more pizza than any other food.
Huh? Tell me more.
Anytime my mom asks what I want for dinner, I shout "Let's order pizza!" She usually goes for it because it means she doesn't have to cook.
Way better than...
I like pizza. Pizza is really yummy. You can get cheese pizza. You can get pizza with pepperoni...
The best way to start developing writing is to start with a verbal routine. Pose a somewhat silly or obvious question...favorite food, favorite color, where do you live. Need more ideas? Click here or here for a long list of questions.
The aim is for this dialogue to become an inner voice to deepen responses. This is also a great scaffold for academic writing across contents. Check back for more ideas to increase specificity (such a fun word)!