The English Teacher

The Five Modes of Writing

This unit has been used in the 11th grade as a last minute refresher exercise to both remind and enable students to complete the State Writing assessment when it included these five modes of writing. Although, the writing assessment in our state is now given in the 10th grade and the focus has changed somewhat, this unit still has many benefits. It creates an intense grading load for the teacher who could probably only do this for two classes for a week, [I returned the papers the next day] but it can be a positive experience for students and teachers. My classes always enjoyed it and I enjoyed it for the energy being generated.

One each day of the five writing styles [modes]: narration, persuasion, description, exposition, imaginative. [The prompts are designed to cause the students to write in the assigned mode. Then during the assessment test, when a student asked what a specific mode was, such as description, I could respond with 'do you remember our 'holiday paper?,' etc.]

A. Narration with a hope-
    1. Tell about a happy event when you did something enjoyable as a child.

B. Persuasion for a profit-
    2. Persuade someone to buy something you have that is valuable. [Consider your audience carefully. *You may 'need' this money for some motivating reason such as the final amount for a trip to Hawaii, etc. Can be written as a letter or in an ad format if written in complete sentences.]

C. Explanation as an excuse or as congratulations.
    1. Power plant failure
    2. Coming in late
    3. Report Card
    4. Why a hunting trip was or was not successful
    5. How a game was won
    6. How you won or lost something or how you succeeded or failed.

D. Description with a 'vibe.' *Use visualization.
    1. A holiday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. using all five senses if possible
    2. Description with a picture (image) *How would you focus on a tarantula crawling up your arm? Focus your description like that.

E. Imagination with the 'clutch in.'
    1. You drink a potion that enables you to change your shape to anything you wish for 24 hours. What do you do? [Use the description skills just developed.]

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