The Action-Feelings-Setting Strategy
Action Feelings Setting is a strategy for planning and executing writing that helps students to focus on critical elements of a story and to include important and engaging elements. It can be used to plan new writing and also to revise and elaborate on existing pieces.
Teacher models the activity by first orally telling a story she or he wants to write, and then displaying the images and descriptions of the action, feelings, and setting of the chosen scene.
As you model, think aloud about which scene or event of the story you chose to focus on and why, and how you know what the characters are likely feeling.
Students choose a story idea that they want to write about.
Students who keep a writer’s journal should have lots of potential ideas listed in their journals. Otherwise, students may spend some time brainstorming ideas alone or in groups.
Students choose an important scene or event from the story.
Circulate as students are working and help them to isolate a scene or event on which to elaborate.
Students draw a picture of the action of the scene or event, and then write a description of the action.
Circulate as students are working, asking them about their thinking and helping to clarify any confusion.
Students draw a picture of the feelings of the characters in the scene, and write a description.
Students may benefit from a list of emotion words if they are having trouble with this task.
Students draw a picture of the setting of the scene or event, and then write a description of the setting. This can also include a description of the events that led up to this scene.
Remind students that setting includes both place and time. Circulate and confer with students as they work.
Students use their Action Feelings Setting preparation to write an opening paragraph for their story scene. They ensure that their paragraph includes some action, some feelings, and some setting.
Depending on the skills of your students, it may make sense to first model using your illustrations and descriptions to create a paragraph. Circulate as students are working, engaging in brief conferences during which you assess their understanding of the strategy and help push it a little further. Encourage students to try several versions of the paragraph. What type of information do they like to lead with? What sounds best? What is most engaging?
Using a pair-share model, students read a partner’s work and discuss what they notice about the action, feelings, and settings. Students offer two “noticings,” two specific details they like, and one specific suggestion.
Circulate as students are working, and if necessary provide them with sentence stems to help them to provide each other with useful feedback.
Students reflect on their learning alone or individually, orally or in writing.
Students should respond to questions including: · How did today’s strategy affect the way your paragraph turned out? · How did the process of writing a paragraph seem different as a result of using this strategy? · How might this strategy help you to develop a longer piece of writing? · How might this strategy help you to understand your reading?