The primary objective of this exercise is to help students see how adjectives and adverbs (including those in prepositional phrases) affect the meaning and tone of a text. Its secondary objective is to help older students who have not yet learned to recognize adjectives and adverbs to do so. If reviewed in class, it provides a nice change of pace as students enjoy hearing what some of their classmates have done with the text. The original is:
It was December -- a bright frozen day in the early morning. Far out in the country there was an old Negro woman with her head tied in a red rag, coming along a path through the pinewoods. Her name was Phoenix Jackson. She was very old and small and she walked slowly in the dark pine shadows, moving a little from side to side in her steps, with the balanced heaviness and lightness of a pendulum in a grandfather clock. She carried a thin, small cane made from an umbrella, and with this she kept tapping the frozen earth in front of her. This made a grave and persistent noise in the still air, that seemed meditative like the chirping of a solitary little bird.My students developed the following: [Number 4 was particularly well-received when read aloud in class.]
1. It was December--a cool dark day by the big lake. Far out in the cool darkness there was a small plump woman with green flowers tied into her grungy black hair, coming down a foot from the neck. Her name was Helen Kelbaughski. She was very polite and nice and she walked slowly through the dark sleazy woods, moving a little towards the lake with caution and with careful steps, with the much [sic] heaviness and lightness of an animal with a dying hunger. She carried a long, black cane made from an alloy, and through this she kept tapping the dark earth in front of her. This made a dusty and scraping noise through the wooded area, that seemed meditative like the mountain lion of a cool dark forest.
2. It was December--a cold dreary day in the small town. Far out in the wild country there was an old crippled woman with silver bells tied to her large black shoes, coming towards a bridge over the lake. Her name was Betty Greg. She was very tall and skinny and she walked hunching over the large black shoes, moving a little in time to the sound of tinkling steps, with the awkward heaviness and lightness of a body with weighted shoes. She carried a dull, black cane made of an oak, and with this she kept tapping the brown earth in front of her. This made a soft and rhythmical noise along with the belled shoes, that seemed meditative like the bells of an old catholic church.
3. It was December--a very cold day throughout the empty park. Far out from the trees there was a very beautiful woman with dark glasses tied around a skinny neck, coming from a house in the park. Her name was Joan Herlihy. She was very slim and neat and she walked swiftly through the "dark" ominous park, moving a little from side to side with quick steps, with the obvious heaviness and lightness of a person with a physical handicap. She carried a big, brown cane made from a _____, and with this she kept tapping the frozen earth in front of her. This made a repetitive and echoing noise in the empty park, that seemed meditative like the sounds of a beautiful red woodpecker.
4. It was December--a cold dreary day in the run down neighborhood. Far out in a distant galaxy there was a loony goony woman with bad spells tied with terribly smelling porkchops, coming from a spacecase in the north. Her name was Banana Head. She was very crazy and weird and she walked pervertedly through the entire bizarre galaxy, moving a little with leaps with jumps with cocky steps, with the terrible heaviness and lightness with a wacko in a similar galaxy. She carried a huge, gigantic cane made in a factory, and with this she kept tapping the small earth in front of her. This made a funny and distinctive noise on the small earth, that seemed meditative like the drown of a junky burned out engine.