Our word choices can have a huge impact on our readers. Or the words can muddle them. Let me give you an example.
If I write that a toddler is a good eater, I suddenly have a communication problem. The word “good” is not specific enough. Does “good” mean that the toddler is neat while eating? Does it mean that the child eats a large quantity of food or perhaps a variety of food without complaining? My readers will not have a clear idea of my meaning.
Your middle school students will learn this in the first writing prompt. I’ve written a very boring paragraph about something that seemed exciting to the student, but the words I selected were flat, overused, and not specific enough.
Teens will have fun with the second writing prompt as they practice using specific words and phrases to put a point across or create a focused mood.
Ready? Let’s go . . .
HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS
The Colorado House of Representatives voted to remove the words “illegal alien” from their state laws and substitute them with “undocumented immigrant” or “foreign national.”
Stephen Lebsock, the Democratic Representative behind the bill, says that “aliens are from other planets. We should not be referring to human beings as aliens,” according to the Denver Post. And the radio station K99 in Colorado quotes him as saying that the term “illegal alien” is “outdated and hurtful language.”
MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS
Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit a particular site in Scotland each year, hoping to see a monster. What are they looking for?
It turns out that tourists are not the only ones looking for something. Operation Groundtruth has begun a search for the Loch Ness Monster (“Nessie”), a monster some claim they have seen. They are using a marine robot equipped with sonar to search the depths of the loch.
Nessie, if she exists, is thought to be a marine reptile, perhaps a plesiosaur, left over from the age of dinosaurs.
What has Operation Groundtruth found so far? The steep sides of the loch, the deep trench of the loch, and even a World War II airplane lying on the bottom of the loch. No Nessie. Yet.