Writing with Adjective Clauses That Enrich Detail
This chapter discusses the ways to improve the student descriptions with participial phrases that bring scenes to the life. Dan teaches ninth graders who read coming-of-age stories and then write their own personal narratives about growing up. The students learn to use the term 'participial phrase', which they associate with 'ing' verbs that describe nouns or pronouns the way adjectives normally do. To help students become comfortable with participial phrases, Dan plans a game that is similar to charades. He wants to demonstrate how students can use a participial phrase to combine two ideas. Students also refer to essential or nonessential participial phrases and understand the conventions for punctuation. Dan discovers that his brief conferences make revision easier for the students. Despite all the class work on envisioning action, writing participial phrases, and mentioning body language, his students need more guidance before they can independently spot the need for, and include details expressed through, participial phrases.