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In the story “Brave as a Mountain Lion,” the author uses language to describe how the main character, Spider, feels when he is scared of participating in a spelling bee. The author writes that he did not feel like eating, felt his legs freeze, his throat tighten, and his heart pumping, while he could not talk.
This activity asks students to think about a time when they were afraid and identify how it felt in their bodies to feel fear.
- First students, drew pictures of the outlines of their bodies. While it may be tempting to have students jump right in and begin writing, having students begin by drawing greatly enriches the quality of their writing as well as student engagement.
- Then students label their pictures, drawing lines to 3-4 parts of their body and writing a note about how that part of their body felt. For example, line drawn to stomach and label, “Butterflies in stomach.”
- Next students write about their pictures using this linguistic frame (also called a communication guide):
- I felt scared when……….
- I was scared because……….
- Also, my……….was/were………..
- Students then publish their writing.
I felt scared when I had to sing in front of the school. I was scared because I didn’t know the song I was going to sing. My voice was shaking. Also, my legs were trembling. My stomach had butterflies.
© 2007 by Mathew Needleman