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Class Size:
Less than 10
Recent Resources
  1. Showing not telling writing
More Resources


  • Writing paper
  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
  • Other mentor texts that have showing not telling examples.  (I like to use Junie B. Jones because Barbara Park uses a lot of this in her writing and the language used is similar to what an actual first grader would use.)
  • Large paper to record student ideas


  • Students will be able to show emotions in writing without using an emotion word.

Resource Instructions

Activate Prior Knowledge:  Brainstorm emotions

Read The Way I Feel to add more emotions to the list.

Model:  Read 2-3 examples from mentor texts, having students guess which emotion the character is feeling.  "I covered my ears and stamped my foot."  (angry)  Did the author use the word angry?  Then how do you know that the character is angry?

Explain that good writers don't always tell us how a character feels, they show us by how the character acts.  (stamping her foot)

Have students take turns in smail groups acting out feeling sad and scared.  Have the other students guess what they are feeling.  "I know you feel __sad___ because ___you are sticking out your bottom lip___."    Record how they know on two large papers for sad and scared.

Showing understanding:  Students choose a time they felt sad or scared.  They write one sentence telling about the event.  "A mouse ran across the room."  Then they SHOW how they felt without using an emotion word.  "I screamed and jumped on the bed."

Sharing:  Share students' writing with the class and guess how the writer felt when that happened.



Extensions:  Continue choosing other emotions.  Brainstorm lists of what that looks like together.


  • Were the other students or the teacher able to guess what emotion the writer was feeling?
  • Did the writer use an emotion word or were they able to show their emotions without one?

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