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St.Thomas University Online
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Here students learn to recognize the writing trait of voice in books, music and art


Art, Language Arts, Music  


5, 6, 7, 8  

Title – VOICE Writing Trait – Differentiated by Process of Learning Styles
By – Marilyn Scotto
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Music, Art
Grade Level – 5 – 8


    Voice, one of the 6 traits of writing differentiated by process of learning styles


    Students will learn to become better self-evaluators of their writing and better communicators through the written word.



Nancy Drew

        Vols. 1 & 2 by Carolyn Keene

Down the Yukon

        by Will Hobbs


        by Anne Templeton Kluit


        by Jude Welton



God Bless the U.S.A.

      -“I’m Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood
      Art: Student hallway art
    Also: Activity attachment, overhead, CD player

Learning Goals:

      Know Vocabulary:

      • voice, no voice



      • Students will understand that adding voice to their writing will create a more effective connection with their audience.


    Be Able to Do:

    • Note differences in voice vs. no voice pieces
    • See relationship of voice across varying mediums — books, music, art (differentiated by learning styles) .
    • add voice to non-voice pieces

Guiding Questions:

  • Who can tell me what voice means in writing (see activity sheet) ?
  • Give me an example of voice in writing (a favorite book, author) .
  • Compare these two books — which has voice and which has no voice? Why (adventure vs. textbook) ?
  • Listen to these two songwriters’ songs — compare/contrast (one is flat, the other inspiring/moving).
  • Observe this artist. How is his voice consistent with his paintings?
  • Walk into the hallway for a moment. How have the students here used voice in their artwork?
  • After activity ask, ” How has she/he used their voice in this piece?

Preparing to teach the lesson:

  • Materials present; overhead/CD player ready to play
  • Able to modify if necessary (words to song, guiding questions, etc.)
  • Be aware of time element
  • Be sure to pre-assess, during-assess and exit: through activity, review

Teaching the Lesson:

      1. Introduce the Six Traits of Writing – lead to “Voice”.


      2. Pre-assess – Ask for definition.


      3. Turn on overhead – continue with meanings of “Voice”.


      4. Give purposeful instruction. Tell students they will “come away today” knowing the meaning of voice through three different mediums/examples.


      5. Give examples:


        A) BOOKS –

Nancy Drew

        author Carolyn Keene — her writing voice.


        Read sample from book, one that elicits a page-turner response. Show another sample from a different book by the same author and compare.
        Show two examples books on the same topic (the Yukon). Students must decide (compare/contrast) which is the book with voice and the book with no voice.




        [textbook] vs.

Down the Yukon

        B) MUSIC – students are told that two songwriters were given the task to write a song about how they felt about being an American.


        First songwriter – read his flat, emotionless words (make this up).


        Second songwriter – play half of song,

I’m Proud to be an American

        by Lee Greenwood.


        Students compare/contrast same topic, different writing voices.
        C) ART – show students two paintings by Monet to illustrate writing with a paintbrush also elicits “Voice” – the similar voice Monet uses in all his paintings. Have students walk into the hallway to view students’ artwork on walls. Emphasize how individual and personal each piece is – it is “Voice”.


    6. During-assess: summarize before activity.


      Students will choose one writing piece (see voice activity below) and add voice to it.


    Model one for them.


    As they share their writings, comment on voice used.

Assessing the Activity:

      Authentic – activity sheet;


    exit strategy – ask students about their favorite authors/books and voice used (their textbooks, a weather report, etc.)

ELA Standards:

      Std. 1 – Information & Understanding


      Std. 2 – Literary Expression & Expression


    Std. 3 – Critical Analysis & Evaluation



Voice is *

      * you — coming through your writing

      * your own style, tone, and flavor

      * how you, the writer connects with the reader!

    * when your piece reaches out and “pulls-in” the reader.

Directions : Choose one of the following writings and add your own voice to it.
( I just had to add my comments — use as a rubric! )


Today is your birthday. Have a Happy Day!
( I’m so not buying this “boring” greeting card. )


“This whole week, I keep seeing these strange flashes of light outside my window. Oh well, maybe it’s just lightning,” thought Tom.
( I’m returning this book — it does not pull me in at all .)


“Summer is here, not much to do.
I don’t really care — how ’bout you?”
( No way is this songwriter connecting with me — just not feeling
it, Dawg!

E-Mail Marilyn Scotto !

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