12 Show, Don’t Tell

Dr. Todd Nelson


12.1 Lesson Plan

“Keep Your Reader Awake and Interested: Using Basic Literary Elements to Engage the Reader of Your College App Essay”

12.1.1 Learning objective

Students will be able to use action and dialogue to make their essays direct, concise, and more appealing to readers.

12.1.2 Review

Start by reviewing the material covered in the previous session, including plot, character, scene, and concision.

12.1.3 “Show, Don’t Tell”

Explain the concept of “show, don’t tell” – using action, dialogue, and specific details to bring the story to life.

Offer examples and guidance on using sensory details, dialogue, and action verbs to make their writing more engaging and descriptive.

12.1.4 Practice

Give students time to work on their essay drafts and practice incorporating the elements covered in the previous session and in the “show, don’t tell” discussion.

Walk around the classroom and provide feedback and guidance as needed.

12.1.5 Sharing and feedback

Wrap up the session by having students share their revised writing with a partner (or triad.)

Allow time for peer feedback. Encourage students to continue refining their work.

12.1.6 Conclusion

Ask for a brief summary of the lesson from a student or two.