Show and Tell

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Transcript of Show and Tell



  • Writers Notebook

    Say vs. Do

    The true mark of someones character is found not in the things they say but in the things they do.Agree or disagree? WHY?

    Content: Revision


  • Show And Tell Strikes Back

    Revenge of Show


    [Instructor Note] Show and Tell = show a moment instead of telling about it. This is NOT about visual/descriptive writing.

    Today, we are going to have Show and Tell! But not like you had in kindergarten. This is a new kind of Show and Tell.

  • How do these people feel?


    For these slides, get as much info and detail from kids as you can. Remember: this is not about visual description. Tell us about the people and situation.

  • What about this guy?

  • Hows Smiley feeling?

  • Hows her day going?

  • Is Rudolph having a good day?

  • How do these two feel
    about each other?

  • And these two?

  • What about these guys?

  • How well is the computer working?

  • How do we know these things?

    We can see themThey were SHOWN to us.No one needed to TELL us.The pictures were able to SHOW us.


    Begin segue from pictures to writing Narrative Moments

  • Your Writing

    Your writing should be the picture.Let your reader provide the response.Show your readers a narrative momentNote: this is not about descriptive writing in terms of visuals/sensory detail


    Narrative moment = a point in time in a narratives plot in which the writer goes into precise detail to underscore the importance of the moment and create understanding and, ideally, empathy in the reader.

  • The Key to Success

    Show smokeLet the reader infer fire.


    Show someone being and we can infer how they feel / who they are

  • FIRE!

    I'll never forget how I felt after Fido died. I was miserable.Simply naming the feelings that you experienced (telling your reader what you felt) is not enough to create interest in the reader. Adjectives are not enough.
  • More FIRE!

    If I live for a thousand years, I'll never forget how utterly and terribly alone I felt after Fido died. I was so miserable that I thought I would die. Months and months went by, and it seemed that every little thing reminded me of him and made me wish things could be different. I don't know whether I am ever going to get over his death.While the author has added details, those details merely assist the telling -- they don't actually give the reader a reason to love Fido, and to suffer along with the writer.
  • Smoke (i.e. SHOW)

    Whenever puppies in the pet store window distracted me from the serious business of taking him for his walk, Fido snarled fiercely and pulled mightily at his leash yet he always forgave me instantly. Over the past few years he lost his hearing and his sight, but when he felt the leash click on his collar and smelled fresh air, he still tried to caper. He's been dead for three months now. This morning I filled his water bowl all the way to the top --just the way he likes it -- before I remembered. The author does not need to tell the reader "I loved Fido and I still haven't come to terms with his death," because the paragraph contains specific details that show the depths of the relationship.
  • Telling:

    From the way she behaved in the crowded restaurant, you could tell Sara was attracted to the cute stranger in the black shirt. She tried a few things to get his attention, and eventually she thought she succeeded.(The author wastes no time providing the information, but the story is very thin... nothing interesting seems to be happening.)
  • Showing:

    Bored by the conversation, Sara tossed her hair and laughed. That stranger had been scanning the room, and he noticed her this time. Wait -- was that a half smile? Had he just put his hand on his heart? Or was he just brushing something off of his shirt? Sara smiled. That shirt looked soft.
    He's kind of cute," her roommate giggled.
    Sara casually looked away. "Oh, I don't know," she said, twirling a curl. She let her eyes rest on the artwork, the flowers, a random face in the crowd, and found another excuse to laugh. Carefully turning her profile, she crossed her legs the way she and her girlfriends had practiced in middle school. That ought to do it, she thought.

  • Tell

    I was so thrilled that I beat the football captain in a chess game that I made a fool of myself. I'll never live that down. This is straight telling -- we know that the protagonist makes a fool of himself, but we don't feel embarrassed for him, because we don't see any of this foolish behavior ourselves.
  • Closer, but still Telling

    My heart was pounding and my adrenaline was pumping. When I finally beat that big bully of a football captain in a chess game, I jumped around like an idiot, taunting him and laughing at him in front of the whole school. Arrogance and geekiness are not a combination that leads to social success. While the author has added details, those details merely assist the telling -- they don't actually show anything important. We still don't get the chance to see the behavior and judge for ourselves whether it is foolish.
  • Good SHOW!

    My heart was pounding and my adrenaline was pumping as I moved my knight and took Biffs queen. I jumped up on my chair and raised my arms victoriously. Your bulging muscles are useless against my superior intellect! I laughed, as the vanquished football captain and the whole classroom stared. I have captured your queen, and in two moves, I shall utterly destroy your king's little white plastic ass! Bwaaa ha ha hah! Suddenly, I remembered where I was. Who I was. I looked around at my classmates. Some mouths hung open. Various eyes were wide. Eyebrows raised. A few people cringed. Then came the laughter. The completely over-the-top content of the quoted speech communicates the protagonist's emotional state as well as his arrogance; the author does not have to come out and tell us that this behavior is idiotic, because there are enough details that we can come to that conclusion ourselves.


    Notice that all of the Shows are much longer than the tells. Yep, students have to write more to write better.

  • How Do I Know?
    How Do I Show?

    Eliminate be verbs.Is, are, was, were, am, beThink of the tell, then show without writing the tell.I was sad. -- Now write I was sad, without using the word sad (and synonyms do not count!)Yes, you will have to write moreMan, thats too much! No, its just enough.
  • Your Challenge

    Personal Piece Revision

    Look for a moment of emotion in your draft.


    Write that basic emotion. (i.e. I was pissed).Now SHOW us I was without using I wasThis should be at least 5 sentences.
  • Writers Notebook



    Content: Free


  • Objective

    Students will demonstrate depth of idea development with sufficient details by applying the Show and Tell concept to their personal piece.
  • Your Challenge

    Personal Piece Revision

    Look for a moment of emotion in your draft.


    Write that basic emotion. (i.e. I was pissed).Now SHOW us I was without using I wasThis should be at least 5 sentences.
  • SHARE!

    Anyone brave enough to share with the class?Share with a partner. Let your partner critique your show.In the Writers Writers NotebookPartner, write a 4 sentence critique of your partners work.
  • Your Mission

    From your current draftIdentify one moment to explode.Find an underdeveloped moment, then write it in no fewer than two paragraphsIdentify tells that you can turn into shows.Find statements that can be understood in a narrative momentLabel those moments as TellRewrite the moment.REMEMBER: Show smoke, and let the reader infer fire.