Paragraph Sample Activity

SAMPLE FROM PARAGRAPH WORKTEXT

PARAGRAPH WITHOUT SENTENCE-COMPOSING TOOLS

Ada waved her hands at the rooster. The rooster launched himself at her face. Ada was cut across the wrist by a spur. Her blow knocked the bird to the ground, but he rose and came at her again. The rooster dug at her with a spur. She burst from the bush with a great thrash and rose to run. The bird pecked at her calves and struck again and again with the spur of his free leg. Ada then ran to the porch and into the house.

PARAGRAPH WITH SENTENCE-COMPOSING TOOLS

In the next version, the author uses lots of tools. Some are familiar ones you learned earlier in this worktext. Other tools are new. All tools, though, are easy to identify because all tools are removable sentence parts. If a sentence part–familiar or new–is removable without destroying the basic sentence, it’s a tool.

In this restored paragraph, focus on the power of the sentence-composing tools.  Each sentence in the paragraph contains tools that add detail, meaning, variety, style, and texture to writing–hallmarks of good writing.

Trapped under the bush, Ada, shifting about onto her knees, waved her hands at the rooster, a black and gold menace that always frightened Ada a little with his ferocity. When she did, the rooster launched himself at her face, twisting in the air so that he arrived spurs first, wings flogging away. Throwing up a hand to fend him off, Ada was cut across the wrist by a spur. Her blow knocked the bird to the ground, but he rose and came at her again, wings fanning. As she scrambled crablike to get out from under the bush, the rooster dug at her with a spur, hanging it up in the folds of her skirt. She burst from the bush with a great thrash and rose to run, the rooster still attached to her skirt at knee level. The bird pecked at her calves and struck again and again with the spur of his free leg, beating at her with his wings. Ada, hitting at it with open-handed blows until it fell away, then ran to the porch and into the house.

Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

Look at the paragraph’s sentences side-by-side to see how tools make-over the paragraph. (Sentence-composing tools are underlined.)

1a. Ada waved her hands at the rooster.

1b. Trapped under the bush, Ada, shifting about onto her knees, waved her hands at the rooster, a black and gold menace that always frightened Ada a little with his ferocity.

2a. The rooster launched himself at her face.

2b. When she did, the rooster launched himself at her face, twisting in the air so that he arrived spurs first, wings flogging away.

3a. Ada was cut across the wrist by a spur.

3b. Throwing up a hand to fend him off, Ada was cut across the wrist by a spur.

4a. Her blow knocked the bird to the ground, but he rose and came at her again.

4b. Her blow knocked the bird to the ground, but he rose and came at her again, wings fanning.

5a. The rooster dug at her with a spur.

5b. As she scrambled crablike to get out from under the bush, the rooster dug at her with a spur, hanging it up in the folds of her skirt.

6a. She burst from the bush with a great thrash and rose to run.

6b. She burst from the bush with a great thrash and rose to run, the rooster still attached to her skirt at knee level.

7a. The bird pecked at her calves and struck again and again with the spur of his free leg.

7b. The bird pecked at her calves and struck again and again with the spur of his free leg, beating at her with his wings.

8a. Ada then ran to the porch and into the house.

8b. Ada, hitting at it with open-handed blows until it fell away, then ran to the porch and into the house.

A C T I V I T Y: Under the author’s paragraph is a list of sentences from that paragraph. Under each sentence is the raw material for you to combine to imitate the way the author’s model sentence is built. When you finish, you will have a paragraph with well-built sentences like the ones by the paragraph’s author.

Example

First Model Sentence from Paragraph One: Frankie’s friends found themselves at the bottom of the canyon, thrown clear.

Raw Material to Combine to Imitate the Model Sentence:

a. Kowalski’s partner found himself in the bottom of the boat

b. The partner was still alive.

Result: Kowalski’s partner found himself in the bottom of the boat, still alive.

_____________________________________________________________________________

MODEL PARAGRAPH

(1) Frankie’s friends found themselves at the bottom of the canyon, thrown clear. (2) The truck was near them, wheels facing skyward. (3) Struggling to the vehicle, the boys saw Frankie pinned under it. (4) They ran to the ranch house and notified the ranch foreman. (5) There was no hospital anywhere near Ridgewood. (6) The closest thing was the house of the town physician, “Doc” Babcock, who kept a few spare beds to cope with the cuts and bruises suffered by the local loggers. (7) The foreman fetched Babcock, who rushed to the scene. (8) Babcock climbed through the wreckage and used what little medical equipment he had to try to revive Frankie. (9) When Frankie’s parents arrived by special charter train from Des Moines, they were told that their son was dead, his skull and spine crushed.

Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit

_____________________________________________________________________________

Model Sentence One: Frankie’s friends found themselves at the bottom of the canyon, thrown clear. (See example.)

a. Kowalski’s partner found himself in the bottom of the boat

b. The partner was still alive.

Model Sentence Two: The truck was near them, wheels facing skyward.

a. The shark was circling them.

b. Its jaws were open wide.

Model Sentence Three: Struggling to the vehicle, the boys saw Frankie pinned under it.

a. The partner was reaching for the gun.

b. He saw Kowalski’s corpse.

c. The dead body was clutching onto it.

Model Sentence Four: They ran to the ranch house and notified the ranch foreman.

a. He reached toward the body.

b. But he couldn’t loosen the hand.

c. The hand was locked.

Model Sentence Five: There was no hospital anywhere near Ridgewood.

a. There was no help.

b. No help was anywhere near them.

Model Sentence Six: The closest thing was the house of the town physician, “Doc” Babcock, who kept a few spare beds to cope with the cuts and bruises suffered by the local loggers.

a. The only hope was the chest.

b. The chest was the one with the sharp spears.

c. Those were the spears which could tear through flesh to injure with the power and pain.

d. The power and pain were delivered by the dangerous blades.

Model Sentence Seven: The foreman fetched Babcock, who rushed to the scene.

a. The partner found the chest.

b. It was the one which lay below the deck.

Model Sentence Eight: Babcock climbed through the wreckage and used what little medical equipment he had to try to revive Frankie.

a. The chest lifted through the hatch.

b. And the chest offered what little desperate hope he had.

c. The hope was to try to kill the shark.

Model Sentence Nine: When Frankie’s parents arrived by special charter train from Des Moines, they were told that their son was dead, his skull and spine crushed.

a. When the boat shifted from waves under it, he felt hopeful.

b. This was because he thought that the angle was good

c. His is strength was ready.

d. And his aim was ready.