Any Other Name

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
playing the name game, Suzanne

You're familiar with Juliet's great question: Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

Ummm...let me think about that- YES!

Have you ever read a paper that goes something like this:
It's important to have friends.  I know I'm glad to have good friends.  I also try to be a good friend.  I think that friendship makes life more fun.

MAKE IT STOP!!!  Among a myriad of other problems this kid wears us out with friendship.  It was in the prompt.  We get it!  

This kiddo is in need of the renaming strategy.  Lori and I have known and practiced this strategy for a year know, but we had the honor of spending the end of last week with Gretchen Bernabei and my biggest Ah ha! centered around this technique.

Renaming has writers identify words that they have over used and replace them with catchier words and phrases.  So my friend from above would create a list of friendship replacements similar to the following:
  • companion(ship)
  • buddy
  • comrade (camaraderie)
  • amigo
  • dynamic duo
Okay.  This much I knew.  Now, prepare to have your mind blown!

You're familiar with Gretchen's essay structures.  We talked about expository here and persuasive here.  However, she has many, many more listed on her website and books.  

We wrote a Kernel essay with this structure about a favorite possession:
1.  I love my...
2.  It has the most...
3.  It also...
4.  That's why...

I wrote about my Crock-Pot (as if I regularly use it- it's summer people!).  My Kernel essay looked like this:
1.  I love my Crock- Pot!
2.  It is the most convenient way to cook dinner. (in theory)
3.  It also fills the house with good smells.
4.  That's why I'm proud to own a Crock-Pot.

It's beautiful, right?!  Guess what word I'm going to be tempted to overuse?  You guessed it- Crock Pot.  So I generated a list of synonyms:
  • pot of wonder
  • safe haven of dinner
  • food sauna (personal fav)
  • treasure trove
Now look how easy it is for all students to go back into their Kernel and rename:

1.  I love my Crock- Pot!  
I love my pot of wonder!
2.  It is the most convenient way to cook dinner.  
This food sauna is the most convenient way to cook dinner.
3.  It also fills the house with good smells.  
Good smells radiate from this culinary treasure trove.
4.  That's why I'm proud to own a Crock-Pot.  
That's why I'm proud to own this safe haven of dinner.

Isn't that simply brilliant?!  And simple is my favorite kind of brilliant.

Gretchen outlines renaming in her book Fun Sized Academic Writing for Serious Learning.  The mentor essay is written by a 3rd grader named Savannah.  One of my life goals is to meet her- she's hilarious!  Also, ask a guy to read the mentor text aloud.  You can thank me later.  

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