Writing Lesson W2: Get Emotional

Lesson: Get Emotional
Time:  Approximately 45 minutes, with additional optional activity
Objective:  To help students identify emotion in writing and find ways to use it effectively in their own writing.

Good writing evokes emotion.  This lesson helps students focus on the emotional impact of text.  Students are asked to read three selections and list words that describe how the selection makes them feel.  As an optional activity, students select an emotion they’d like to focus on and use that emotion to write a story for a picture in the picture gallery.


1.  Introduce the lesson by reading passages from books or magazines that evoke strong emotional responses.  Ask students what the passages have in common. Help them understand that the author is purposely evoking feelings such as fear, exhilaration, sadness, apprehension, etc.  Help students understand that this is one of the characteristics of good writing.

2.  Brainstorm, with students, a list of emotions that readers might feel while reading a passage.  Besides the emotions listed above, the list might can include feelings such as fear, anger, guilt, pride, depression, anxiety, envy, jealousy, love, hope, gratitude, happiness, shame, and frustration.

3.  Hand out copies of student response sheet W2: Get Emotional.  Review the sheet with students.  Let them know they’ll be reading several short passages and identifying the emotions the passages make them feel.  Students may list from one to four emotions for each.  If there are more, they should try to choose the four predominant emotions.

4.  Give students about 20 minutes to work on this part of the lesson.  Then, have them pair/share.  Finally, you can have a few students share their responses with the class and see whether the captions/stories evoked the same kinds of emotions in most readers.

5.  As a followup activity, have students pick out one picture they’d like to write about.  After they choose an emotion they think is appropriate for the picture, they can write a caption/story for one of the picture.  Then they can share their writing with a partner and see if the partner can guess the emotion they were trying to convey.  After the writing is peer edited and represents the student’s best work, the student may go ahead and submit the post online.

Download Student Response Sheet for this Lesson:  Get Emotional

Comments about this lesson or ideas for extending it are welcome below.

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