Writing Strategies

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Winner of
5 Awards

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Marko the Pencil shows students how to break a writing assignment into short, manageable tasks and take their writing from mediocre to magnificent. Play the entire program or use the chapter menus so writers can apply each strategy before moving on to learn other strategies. The writing toolbox includes visual clues for each writing tip. The fun animation engages learners and demonstrates how to apply each writing tool effectively.

Grades 3-12
Total running time: Approx. 70 minutes

DVD

RL202

$19.99

  • Join in the fun as Marko helps a friend develop a real writing passage and demonstrates how to use each tool effectively. Learn how to:

    • brainstorm ideas for your assignment
    • consider your audience and identify your purpose
    • find a hook to interest readers
    • organize sentences and ideas effectively
    • avoid unclear pronouns
    • use transitional phrases
    • involve your readers with effective dialogue
    • enrich your work with similes, onomatopoeia, alliteration, personification, and more

    This animated adventure is ideal for classroom use as well as individual practice. Although it was designed and tested with students in fourth grade, our team of educators discovered that students in higher grades (even high school and college) benefited from the review of writing tools and how to effectively integrate all of them into a writing passage.

    We have included a special bonus section: Marko shows you how to proofread your work, and he reveals secrets to score well on multiple-choice writing tests. Plus, you will find free downloadable posters and support material at Marko's special website.

    All of the students using this program during our research loved watching it and commented that many of the writing concepts that they had heard about in school finally made sense to them. Marko's humor keeps students focused.

    Teachers sometimes start by showing the entire program to students to get an overview (although this is optional). Chapter menus make it easy to show students a specific writer’s tool and then practice applying it to their own writing. Visual cues for each of the tools help students remember difficult terms like personification and onomatopoeia. Students who are English Language Learners respond particularly well to an approach that provides visual cues and shows them exactly how to apply each tool to make their writing stronger.

    You won’t find a DVD video for writing that does a better job showing students from fourth grade up specific strategies for improving their writing.

  • Writing Strategies includes:

    • Marko's Song
    • Brainstorming Your Topic and Getting Started
    • The Arranger
    • The Hook
    • Transitional Cake
    • Colorful Words and Expressing Feelings
    • Personification
    • Dialogue
    • Similes
    • Onomatopoeia
    • More Practice Applying Marko's Writing Tools
    • Alliteration
    • Detecting Unclear Pronouns
    • How to Make A Lasting Impression
    • The Finished Story
    • Review of Marko's Writing Tools

    BONUS MATERIAL

    • How to Proofread for Careless Errors
    • How to Score Well on a Multiple-Choice Writing Test
    • Marko's Posters for Becoming an Outstanding Writer
  • Review 1 of 9

    Marko the Pencil, sporting a bow tie and a French accent, offers encouragement and selects tools to help her sharpen her writing skills. In each instance, he explains the tool, gives an example of how it works, and then asks the girl to try to incorporate it in her story. Marko explains brainstorming, identifying the audience, finding a hook, and organizing ideas. He suggests using language rich with dialogue, colorful words, similes, onomatopoeia, and ending with a lasting impression. The first part of the program deals with writing content, and the second segment covers proofreading by using writing samples and a multiple choice format to find mistakes. This is the perfect vehicle to teach the thought process involved in successful writing, and it does it with pizzazz. - Review from the School Library Journal by Marilyn Hersh, Hillside Elementary School, Farmington Hills in Michigan

    Review 2 of 9

    The DVD had excellent wrting strategies that really went with what my youngster was working on at the time. It helped him to know where to begin. I also like the fact that the poster can be printed. I intend to print these as reminders for when he is working on his homework. The ability to choose one segment is great as well. - John S., parent

    Review 3 of 9

    This DVD is attention getting and entertaining for many age groups. It's a great way to teach writing to students and/or your own children. It lends itself to several follow-up lessons in writing. A great tool to develop strong writing skills. - Mandy J., parent

    Review 4 of 9

    The writing tools revealed through the story by Marko are helpful for any writer, and he shows HOW to use each tool introduced throughout the writing process. I think this DVD is an effective learning tool for parents and teachers who are instructing students on how to write properly. There is also a section on proofreading, which is essential in writing. The main menu is organized and easy to select the portion of the DVD you wish to view. - Kelly M.

    Review 5 of 9

    I found this DVD to be very educational and entertaining. As a special education teacher for middle school students, I plan on using this DVD as a teaching tool. - Alan B.

    Review 6 of 9

    "This product really explains, in a visual way, story elements such as sequencing, a hook, transition, colorful words, and more. The help that Marko gives is specific, useful, and immediately applicable. The writing process is often a painful one. This product helps by breaking it down into small steps. Even better, it uses visual cues that will help students, especially visual learners, keep the steps in mind." - Diana Lawsky, Instructor Magazine

    Review 7 of 9

    "I never really knew how to use voice in my stories, but now I finally know what it is. I never understood what my teacher wanted me to do when she said to put feeling into my stories. Now I do." - Caleb L. Age 10

    Review 8 of 9

    "Marko the Pencil knows all the insider tips for producing the most polished prose. He introduces viewers to his Writer's Toolbox, packed with smart, easy-to-implement strategies for improving writing-brainstorming for a topic; hooking readers; organizing sentences and ideas; using transitional phrases, personification, dialogue, similes, onomatopoeia, alliteration; and much more. Marko makes lessons meaningful and memorable by using real passages to demonstrate his writing tools at work. And his strategies are perfect for any writing assignment or standardized test. Also includes bonus materials: tips for proofreading and for acing multiple-choice writing tests." - Beth Hanlon, Educational Reviewer

    Review 9 of 9

    "I like when Marko talks about details because details are a very important tool in writing. Even my 6-year-old brother liked watching this DVD. He said a talking pencil is funny." - Cortlyn N., Age 9

  • iParenting Media Awards, Best Product

    Coalition for Quality Children's Media, Kids First! Endorsement

    Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award

    Creative Child Magazine, Preferred Choice Award

    Learning Magazine Teachers' ChoiceSM Award for the Classroom

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Correlation to COMMON CORE State Standards | click here

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3a

Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3b

Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3c

Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.3d

Provide a sense of closure.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.2

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.3

Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.3a

Choose words and phrases for effect.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3a

Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3b

Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3c

Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3d

Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3e

Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.3

Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.3a

Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5a

Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3a

Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3b

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3c

Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3d

Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3e

Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.3a

Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.3b

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.3c

Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.3d

Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.3e

Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3a

Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3b

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3c

Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3d

Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3e

Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3a

Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3b

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3c

Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3d

Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3e

Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3a

Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3b

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3c

Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3d

Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3e

Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3a

Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3b

Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3c

Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3d

Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3e

Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

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