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Maddiemae Maddiemae is offline
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HELP!! Descriptive writing
Old 10-11-2006, 01:18 PM
 
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Just moved to 4th grade & I cringe when i have to do the writing samples. Can you tell me the best/easiest way to teach them how to write a descriptive "story? I was thinking of basing it on a Halloween theme. Thanks


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Old 10-11-2006, 05:09 PM
 
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What I have done the past couple weeks is describing settings, charactors, and objects. I tell them to use their 5 senses to help describe. For example, I tell them to paint a picture of an autumn scene in their heads. Then they draw it. I then have them describe it showing rather than telling. It is a beautiful autumn day. What the hell does beautiful look like. I don't see the hell word but you catch my drift. They mention that the sun was out, brids flying south, leaves changing colors, poumpkin pies on the window sills, etc. I write a list of all the things that remind them of autumn and then group them up according to the sense. Then they write a paragraph just explaining about autumn. I stress that they can not write a story but a description. Also, sentence variety is key. I have done it with witches, jack-o-lanterns, trolls, etc. They have gotten really good at it. I am in the process of making a class book with all their autumn descriptions. I will then get into story writing. Hope this helps.
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descriptive writing
Old 10-11-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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Similar to the poster above, I have the students make a 5 senses chart. Then under each sense the students list words or phrases that go along with the topic. For instance, if the them was Halloween they would make a chart headed sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Under sight they would write: moonlight, kids in costumes, porch lights glowing, etc. Then under hearing: children's laughter, Boo!, witches cackling, etc. Then the children can write a description blending pieces from each of their senses columns.
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Valerie M Valerie M is offline
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:27 PM
 
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We do our descriptive writing piece with a Halloween theme also. I use lessons on sensory details as well as an activity that helps them "show not tell", They pick phrases to write about without telling what the person is actually doing. Then the class tries to guess what it is by their showing (in writing). For example, they might write "The boy was coughing and sneezing all morning. He was drowning in tissues as he wiped his Rudolph looking nose." The class would guess "a boy with a cold." You make up different scenarios.
We also teach about using similes and metaphors as well as descriptive adjectives.
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Maddiemae Maddiemae is offline
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Old 10-12-2006, 02:28 PM
 
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Thank you!these all sound great & will make things easier on me!


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Old 10-12-2006, 03:15 PM
 
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I'm in 5th, but my kids couldn't even handle the "5 senses chart." I've had to go back to VERY basic basics. So, just in case that's your situation, here's what I did.

I started with vivid verbs and put words like "went" "said" or "got" on the board, and I had them brainstorm more descriptive ways to say those ("raced" "stammered" or "received"). I let them act out the words. I would give a "boring verb" and tell a student to act it out. Then I'd tell them they were doing it wrong! (I'd tell them to walk, for example.) Did that a couple times. They'd get confused, and then I'd tell them the vivid verb ("shuffle" or "limp" or whatever). That demonstrated how important it was to be vivid/exact! We want our reader to know exactly what we mean when we write.

We did tons of practice with that. Then I had them choose 4 vivid verbs and find a picture in a magazine or newspaper that illustrated that vivid verb and explain why. (For example, some of my students picked a picture of two players in a football game for "battle." They explained that the football game was like a war for rival teams. )

Did the same thing with exciting adjectives/adverbs ("fire-engine red" instead of "very red" or "bulbous" instead of "round"). I had them draw what I told them with the "boring" words (round plate) and then tell them it was wrong again.

Then on to exact nouns ... "firefighter" instead of "man" or "pediatrician" instead of "doctor." More drawing, too.

Then we started creating sentences using the VV, EA, and EN words. Four weeks later (1 hr a day/ 2x a week), we are working on descriptive paragraphs. But their writing is exponentially better.
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Senses
Old 10-12-2006, 06:02 PM
 
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This website has a link that gives a huge list of words to use instead of smell, taste...ect....and even for said and asked....

http://www.cyberspaces.net/6traits/

Copy the list for your kids and put it in their writing folders so they have a reference to look at when they write.
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:18 PM
 
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Thanks! That's a great tool!
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