Students use vivid word choice to describe a character or scene, and a classmate draws that character/scene based on the writing.
character, scene, descriptive writing, word choice, setting
This lesson is appropriate for use as part of a unit in descriptive writing. Some prior instruction in descriptive writing is recommended before using the activity. It might also make a strong culminating activity for a descriptive-writing unit.
For this activity, students must first choose a person or place to describe. The character or setting could be completely made up; students might create a character or place who/that is a composite of people or places they know; or students might describe a person or place they know, but that person/place should not be someone/someplace familiar to other students. (The reason for the person or place being unfamiliar will become clear later in the lesson; students should not have a preconceived idea of the person or place about which they or their classmates write about.)
Once students have settled on a character/person or a place/setting, they should brainstorm vivid words that describe that character or place. What does he/she/it look like? smell like? sound like? feel like?...
After brainstorming vocabulary, students will work through the writing process to write a vivid description of their character or place.
When the writing is completed, students will exchange papers with classmates. (This might be a direct exchange; or the teacher might collect papers and redistribute randomly and anonymously.) Each student will be responsible for reading the description s/he is handed and drawing a picture of the character or place based on the written description.
Be sure students understand that they are supposed to draw the literal picture they see in the details of the writing. This is not a free draw; not an opportunity for re-interpreting or taking artistic liberties.When the illustrations are complete, students will see a classmates drawn interpretation of their vivid descriptions. The writer will compare the picture with what they imagined the character or place to look like.
If you feel it might be helpful, you might read aloud a description you select or write as a practice activity; have students create literal illustrations of that description before you have them illustrate their peers descriptions.
The complete writing and illustrations might make a nice classroom or hallway bulletin-board display.
A couple of possible assessment approaches:
Submitted ByMegan Wynne, St. Joseph School in Hawthorne, California
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