Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tasting Our Way to Descriptive Writing

One of the Common Core sub-standards for sixth grade narrative writing states, "Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events." (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.3d) Teaching descriptive writing can be challenging, but giving students a meaningful experience can help them find their creative voice.

To help my students practice using sensory language, I decided to give them a hands-on experience that would elicit their senses and allow them to practice writing descriptively. I picked up a tub of these "Soft Puffs" at my local drug store, which was a perfect treat for all of my students with allergies since the candy is nut/dairy/gluten-free. The product boasts, "a surprise whenever you grab one!" I liked the idea that students did not know which flavor they were getting for our sensory experiment. This forced students to slow down and call upon all of their senses to help their brains determine what it was that they were actually experiencing.

As students began selecting their piece of candy, I encouraged them to carefully observe the candy's color and smell of the aroma, before they ultimately tasted the flavor. Such a creative learning activity deserved an equally as creative format to demonstrate understanding, so students were given the task of showcasing their sensory language in the form of a Glog using Glogster.

From our Mystery Candy Experiment, students connected their experience to their writing in the form of sensory language using strong adjectives, metaphors, similes, and analogies. What a fun and delicious way to get kids writing descriptively!

Thanks to Lexie for allowing me to share her beautiful Glog!

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