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The following notes come from a student practice session on writing improvement. Includes samples of student writing and teacher comments (in italics).

sWriting about Snow

Snow Vocabulary

white, quiet, slippery, cold, playtime, snowman

 winter, beautiful, ski, Seymour Mountain, Whistler, downhill, cross country, snowboarding, tubing, tobogganing

 soft, icy, dangerous, tricky

 ice, slush, melt, freezing, accidents, snow shovel, shovel

 salt, sand, cancelled appointments, school closures (snow days)

 Sounds: crunch, squeak, no sound, muffled, children’s voices

 Clothes: scarf, gloves, toque, earmuffs, snow pants, umbrella (only in Vancouver), snow boots, sunglasses, mittens, long underwear

Student Examples

Student 1

It was the first snow in my life. I felt very excited when I opened the door. Everywhere was covered by thick snow and still it kept snowing outside. (8 words, 9 words, 12 words)

I like the beginning sentence, and so I am ready for an interesting piece. The first two sentences are nearly the same length. We moved the word “still” in front of “it” for emphasis in the third, longer sentence.

Writing is a kind of music. The words have a length and sounds and the sentences also. If you make things sound too much the same, you will be boring. Does anyone here like a bore?

Student 2

Snow flakes as soft as cotton flow up and down in the sky during a snowstorm. Although it is beautiful and white all over our surrounding area, it really creates a lot of difficulty for most people on the street. (16 words, 24 words)

When is a sentence too long for a reader? The time it takes a reader to read a long sentence means that you are asking for or taking up some of their precious life. If you will take it, what are you giving me?

Student 3

The snowstorm last Wednesday is still making me thrilled. I woke up in the morning and opened my curtain. What a beautiful white world ran into my eyes! I could feel it was quite cold outside; however, I liked it.

The first sentence grabs my attention. Good. The next sentence is action and action is something most people like to hear about.

The words “quite cold” are alliteration. The “k” sound is repeated. The semicolon before “however” is a stronger stop than “,but” and forces the reader to slow down.

Teacher Sample

Brad’s Snowy Day

         On the day it began snowing, I woke up in the night, not from any noise, but because it was suddenly quiet. Lying there I knew it was snowing, though I did not push the curtains aside to see for sure. In the morning, my wife decided she would attempt the icy, treacherous drive to her work in Burnaby. About one hour later, I called her office. No answer! To my relief, she arrived a few minutes after, but told me, “It was crazy out there this morning!” My dog, with her long black hair, wore a coat of snow that day. She took great delight in pushing her face into snow banks, making for herself a snow “goatee.” By afternoon, the snow was deep enough to shovel. Out I went to make the sidewalks clear for those passing in front of my house. I enjoyed seeing my breath hanging in the air and the chill that made my nose tingle. The snow was cold this time and squeaked under my boots as I shoveled out my driveway. . .

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What We're Reading Now

Simple Sentences (Noun and Verb)

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Writing about the Rain

Writing about a Person

Writing about Lunch

Writing about Snow

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Food Words

Weather Words