How to use Emotions to Enhance Writing

The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.

Do you wish your students would add more descriptive details to their personal narratives and creative writing stories? Are you looking to improve the level of vocabulary words they use in their writing? Incorporating emotions is an authentic and engaging way to enhance students' writing!


The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. It is helpful for students to think of what the character's body, voice, and face are doing in order to add details to their stories. Continue reading to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help your students improve their writing through the use of emotion words. 

USING EMOTIONS TO WORK ON VOCABULARY

Students first need to gain a basic understanding of what the emotions words mean before they can begin incorporating them into their writing. An easy and FUN way to introduce the emotion words is through a game of Charades. 

How to play: Write various emotion words on index cards and have students take turns acting out the words. The other students will write down their observations of what the actor's face, body, and voice are doing to express the emotion and then guess the word. These observations help students become aware of the details they can add to their own writing when describing how a character is feeling. This authentic practice makes it easier for students to understand what the emotion words mean and think of details to vividly describe the characters' emotions in their own stories.

The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Emotion Cards and Observation Recording Sheet
Students should record the observations from the charades game into their writing folders. This provides them with a tool to refer back to as they are writing their own stories and want to vividly describe how a character is feeling.

The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Recording Sheet to add observations to Writing Folders

USING EMOTIONS TO WORK ON SYNONYMS


Once students have a solid understanding of what the basic emotion words mean, they can expand their vocabulary to include synonyms for these words. Teachers can add a chart to students' writing folders where they can record synonyms as they find them while reading. Students can refer to this chart to add higher-level vocabulary words to their stories. For example, using ecstatic instead of happy.



The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Emotions Synonyms page for Interactive Notebooks

USING EMOTIONS TO WORK ON WRITING


Prior to having students incorporate the Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy into their stories, teachers should provide additional isolated practice. Students can select an emotion word and practice writing details to describe how the character is feeling. They can read their descriptions to a buddy to see if he/she is able to guess the emotion word or if additional details are needed.


The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Character Emotions Charts for students to think of Emotion Words
to use to practice the Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy
Another scaffold that is beneficial to support students with their own writing is a story graphic organizer. Students can use a template to plan their story with how a character's emotions change from the beginning to end and the events that lead to these changes. 


The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.
Additional practice for Show, Don't Tell and
a story writing graphic organizer
The strategies suggested above help to scaffold students to be successful with the Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy. Once they learn how to use the tools and know the language to use to describe characters' feelings, they can begin to incorporate emotions in their own stories.
Have you used emotions and the Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy to enhance your students' writing? What tools and activities have you found beneficial for helping your students find success with this skill? Pin the following image and share your ideas in the comments! 

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The Show, Don't Tell Writing Strategy is an effective way to help students use details to describe how a character is feeling instead of just telling the emotion word. Read to find out the various activities you can easily implement to help students improve their writing through the use of emotion words.



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