Descriptive Paragraphs: Writing About a Television Series
By Rosie Erskine Lamrhari
Pitt Community College
Level: In my advanced class at Pitt Community College, I actually have a range of levels, from high intermediate to advanced. Some students have been in the class for more than a semester or a year and have already learned how to write essays. Others have been in theclass less than a semester or a year and are still learning how to write good paragraphs. Students watch the same program but may write a paragraph or paragraphs that fit their particular writing ability. This lesson is appropriate for intermediate to advanced level students who have had previous instruction in paragraph writing.
Topic: Descriptive Paragraphs. This semester I have beeninstructing the students in how to write different types of descriptive paragraphs. We had great fun with I Love Lucy.
Introduction: On the day of this particular lesson, I separated the students into pairs and had them talk about their favorite television series, either in their own country or here – of course they had to describe it in English, even if the program was from their own country. Onthe board I wrote a few details they should include in their description: the setting, time period, main characters, type of program, e.g., drama, comedy, etc., and the general theme of the series. I told them not to focus on a particular episode or details, rather on describing the entire series. I allowed about 15 minutes or so for the discussion.
Activity: We then had a larger groupdiscussion about the old television show, I Love Lucy. Most of the students were unfamiliar with this popular TV series. I explained to them briefly what the series was about. I also wrote some basic information on the board, e.g., the names of the principal actors, the setting, the time period, and the main characters’ names. I told them that after we watched two 25-min. episodes, they wouldwrite a descriptive paragraph about the series – not of the two episodes we watched, but the series in general. They should include the information on the board in their descriptive paragraphs.
Even after 50 years, the antics of Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel are still hilarious! My students loved the two episodes, and of course we all laughed our heads off.
Drafts and Revisions: I stressoften to my students that the first draft of a paragraph, essay, or letter is never the final draft. After watching Lucy, students worked in class on the first draft. I tried to check each student’s first draft before class was over so that they could bring in a second draft the following day, making necessary corrections. Most second drafts were final drafts. Although some still had a fewmistakes, I did not request a third draft if the student corrected the errors on the second draft.
Watching I Love Lucy was a great way to teach students how to write a descriptive paragraph about a television series. If they could do it with Lucy, they can do it with any television series – past or present.
I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy was a very funny comedy show in the 1950s. It was one of themost popular series, which became international because it was watched in other countries. The show starred Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball as Ricky Ricardo and his wife Lucy. Every program portrayed real facts of daily life in a funny way. The comedy had a clean huor that all kinds of people could see (children and adults). The time has passed, but we’ll always remember that famous funny show ofthe 1950s.
By Beatriz Perez
Pitt Community College
Advanced ESL Class
Graphics from Microsoft Clip Art and Media at www.office.microsoft.com
My name is Beatriz. I’m from Venezuela. I have been living in Greenville, NC since 2003. I came here because I have to take care of my grandchildren, Victor and Vicky while my daughter studies and works at the...