Using the Senses to Write Descriptively
Students learn how descriptions that make use of their five senses can improve their writing.
- use information from all five senses as they write a descriptive paragraph.
- see how including sensory impressions in their writing can improve that writing and create work that others will enjoy reading.
- learn how all writing can benefit by including sensory images.
senses, descriptions, descriptive writing, adjectives
- Hershey® Kisses or another type of candy
Explain to students that they are going to use all five senses as they write a descriptive paragraph. Ask students to list the five senses, and write them -- sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch -- on a chalkboard or chart as students respond.
You might prepare in advance of the lesson a work sheet with a 5-column chart; each column should be headed by one of the five senses. Or students can create their own 5-column charts.
Provide each student with a Hershey's Kiss candy. Ask them to use all five senses to observe the candy's characteristics. Then have students work individually or in small groups to write down their observations. In the column headed Sight, for example, students might write:
- It is silver.
- It is wide at the bottom and slowly forms a point at the top, like a mountain.
- It has a flag waving out from its point.
When students have written their observations for each of the senses, gather them together and let them share what they have written. Create a master list of their responses.
Next, choose one sense and model writing a paragraph that describes the candy from that perspective. Then have students complete a paragraph of their own.
To make grading the paragraphs easier, you might ask students to write only a single paragraph for each of the five senses.
Distribute to each student a different item. Ask students to use their five senses as they write a paragraph describing that item. Assess students on how well they describe the item and on whether they included characteristics for at least four of the five senses in the description.
Submitted by Joanna Wolanski, Evergeen Elementary School in Collegeville, Pennsylvania
Originally published 03/06/2003
Last updated 01/19/2009
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