This past week in writing we have been working on making our writing more concise and powerful. A huge focus area has been getting rid of boring words and replacing them with descriptive, strong words.
I have heard many names for more interesting words including colorful words which is my favorite.
Our class took a list of ten boring words and we buried them. The words that we "killed" were pretty, sad, happy, big, small, said, went, bad, fun, and look. Students got into pairs and were assigned a word on a tombstone.
I have laminated the tombstones and give the students wet-erase markers to write with so that I can use them each year.
Students then brainstorm all the synonyms they know for the words. After they have exhausted their brains, students use a thesaurus to finish up their gravestones.
After the gravestones are completed I hang them up where they can be easily seen by all students. Finally, we look through our own writing to replace the "dead words" with "strong, colorful" words.
The gravestones of dead words stay up all year so that students are able to use them as a reference with they are writing.