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A Visit from Annie

            Annie came to visit our classroom every year, often in January. The students recognized her immediately, but they were always surprised by her odd attire.

            She dressed in a yellow, plastic raincoat with a wide-brimmed, red hat. On her feet she wore shiny, high-heeled shoes and black socks. Our unusual visitor would remove her crinkly coat and floppy hat, hanging them on the rickety chair behind my wooden desk. Underneath the coat, her glossy, white blouse had long, billowy sleeves and cloth-covered buttons. She wore a narrow, brown belt with a gold clasp. Her pleated skirt fell below her knees, and its fabric was decorated with colorful threads in a paisley design.

          Annie carried a gigantic, leather handbag. She would remove each item from inside very slowly— a portable umbrella, a folding hairbrush, a small package of tissues, a large set of jangling keys, a two-sided wallet that contained a cell phone with a flowered cover. The other part of the wallet held several dollars. She always illustrated to us that there were only three, one-dollar bills, but she never pulled them out of the shabby billfold. She spilled several coins from her change purse on to the desk blotter. Then she shook a tiny box of multi-colored pills before adding it to the growing pile. She pulled out a giant pair of dark sunglasses from a blue, embossed case and also, a rimless pair of reading glasses from a plaid holder. Annie removed a curled and torn grocery list, a green, tattered notebook, a used fingernail file, and an old comb with missing teeth.

           Then she looked into the nearly empty purse again, almost putting her entire head into the massive bag, and she began to laugh. With a winking eye, and a huge smile, she reappeared and said she wouldn’t be showing us anything else from her personal pouch.

          She proceeded to place everything back into her immense handbag. After that, she redressed quickly and left the astonished classroom. Annie Adjective’s unexpected visit was over for the school year.

           Perhaps your class, too, would like a dramatic visit from Annie Adjective to liven up the drab, January routine. Simply dress up in clothes with as many different, descriptive adjectives that you think your students can specify. After Annie re-enters the classroom, the class can brainstorm adjectives that describe Annie and the items in her purse.

          I usually performed this lesson to introduce simple adjectives, but sometimes I did it in January to introduce the character trait adjectives in my Little Love Letters project for Valentine’s Day. This LLL lesson is so much better than those common, perfunctory, pre-printed Valentines, and it is an effective way explore adjectives and improve vocabulary while also encouraging friendship and community in your classes, even in high school. To read about how I used them in class, see this previous post:

Improving Class Cooperation

Encourage students to use visualization skills while looking for the adjectives in both lessons. It will help them to see how adjectives can add so much elucidation to writing.

 

You can find a FREE copy of this blog post as a paragraph to introduce or review a grammar lesson on adjectives here:

Annie Adjective

It includes information for adaptation to different levels of grammar knowledge.

 

Enjoy the smiles!

 

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