Adding Dialogue to Writing
1 Introduction - Stilted Dialogue
For this activity, call two students up to the front of the classroom and give them an interesting situation (i.e. The two students just got into a car accident or one student just broke up with her boyfriend).
The two students then converse, but as they carry on their conversation the first word each student says has to start with a specific letter of the alphabet (ABC order). For instance, if the situation is that a girl just broke up with her boyfriend, the conversation might go:
Student 1 has letter A: Are you serious? You guys really broke up?
Student 2 has letter B: Brian was driving me crazy. I couldn't take it anymore.
Student 1 has letter C: Couldn't you just wait one more week. His birthday is Wednesday.
Student 2 has letter D: Don't try to make me feel bad about this.
Don't allow audience participation and require students to keep the conversation on topic.
Continue until the students can't think of something to say or mess up on the letter. Have a couple of groups go and vary the situations. After a few groups, talk to students about what dialogue is and why natural dialogue (unlike what they just witnessed) is important in writing.
2 Direct Instruction
3 Guided Practice
Students use Google Drive to collaborate on a piece of practice dialogue. Give students a variety of people to choose from and have them create a conversation they believe might actually occur between those two people.
Instruct students to use the dialogue rules discussed in the video above to properly punctuate and format their dialogue.
a hairdresser and a customer
a police officer and a speeder
a teacher and a parent
a detective and a shoplifter
4 Independent Practice - Punctuation Check
Write a sample piece of dialogue using Google Drive, but do not format it or add the correct punctuation. Create an assignment in Google Classroom where every student gets a copy of the document. Have students read through the dialogue and edit the dialogue using the rules they learned in the video. Once students are done editing, have them compare their work to that of their classmates.
Students can also practice punctuating dialogue on NoRedInk. Create an assignment and select appropriate pathways for your students to practice.
5 Independent Practice - Add Dialogue to a Piece of Writing
Once students have had practice writing realistic dialogue and punctuating dialogue correctly, have them find places in their memoirs or stories where they could add dialogue.