I had the pleasure of visiting a second grade classroom yesterday. Once again, the kids taught me more than I taught them! First of all, my intention was to have them paint with words by changing telling sentences into showing ones. The activity I had planned didn't go exactly like I expected. While it works great with fourth graders, I had to readjust it for this group. It's so important to be flexible to allow the kids to become successful.
I took starter sentences with me. The first sentence I gave the kids was: I went to the store. I wanted them to change it into something like: My cart was full of fruit and vegetables.
Instead, most of the kids added onto the sentence. I thought about really tyring to drive the point home that I wanted them to totally show and not tell, but then I realized what they were doing was just fine. The kids ended up showing by using two sentences instead of one. They still painted a picture with their words.
One child wrote: I went to the store. I pushed my cart past the apples. Did that paint a picture for you? It sure did for me!
My point is this, if one thing isn't working, don't be afraid to go with the flow and try something else.
For you adult writers, if you're having trouble painting with your words, try the same thing. Add onto your starter sentence instead of changing it...my guess is that once you've added on, you'll be able to totally take out the telling sentence. You will have painted a lovely picture with your words!