Grade: all
Subject: other

#2990. Descriptive Writing

, level: all
Posted Tue Dec 2 16:39:59 PST 2003 by Rita Scheopner (
Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas 67601

Descriptive Writing
Description: This lesson focuses on the technique of descriptive writing for upper elementary students.
Subject: English Language Arts
Grade Level: 5

KS-RW.5.2 Learners write effectively for a variety of audiences ? , purposes, and contexts
KS-RW. ... I: show personal expression ? in their writing
KS-RW.5.2.4 The proficient ? writer uses effective word choice
KS-RW. ... I: use specific nouns, powerful verbs, vivid adjectives, adverbs, and descriptive ? phrases in writing
KS-RW.5.2.5 The proficient ? writer uses clear and fluent ? sentences
KS-RW.5.2.6 The proficient ? writer uses standard American English conventions
KS-RW. ... I: use accurate punctuation including end marks and commas
KS-RW. ... I: use accurate capitalization and correct spelling
KS-RW. ... I: write complete sentences
KS-RW. ... I: write descriptive ? pieces, which may include poetry, ballad, and journal entry edit

Adjective Brainstorming Subject: English Language Arts Grade: 5
This worksheet, focusing on the five senses, allows students to brainstorm various adjectives to describe what they are feeling, hearing, seeing, or tasting

Descriptive Writing Template Subject: English Language Arts Grade: 5
This worksheet, in the shape of a Hershey's Kiss, allows students to write their own descriptive paragraph about candy in a unique format.


* Adjective Brainstorming Worksheet
* Descriptive Writing Template
* Five pieces of paper (for five senses)
* Chalkboard and chalk
* Lunch paper bags
* Sugar cubes
* Hershey's Kisses
* Pencils

At the beginning of the lesson, introduce descriptive writing to the students and link it to other writing activities that have taken place prior to this lesson. Also describe how Ken and Christy's lesson on word choice links directly into descriptive writing. Have students brainstorm for what they think descriptive writing is based on the base word for descriptive of "describe."


1. After having students brainstorm ideas of what descriptive writing may be, offer feedback to the students about what a possible definition could be.
2. Ask students to think of ways in which to make their writing descriptive. Example: word choice, terminology, adjectives, using senses.
3. Explain to students that all of these could work, but there are two main ideas that you are going to foucs on during this lesson: adjectives and the five senses.
4. Ask students to describe what an adjective is. Definition: Describes a noun (object or thing)
5. Have students think of positive and appropriate adjectives to describe four examples written on the board. Design a web from each of these four items to show adjectives relating to object.
6. Once the list of adjectives for all of the items is complete, review with the students what these adjectives mean and how they can help to make writing more descriptive. Provide an example such as "The cat went home" vs. "The yellow, fat cate quickly jumped over the fence to go to his warm house."
7. Next, move into a discussion on the five senses. Explain to the students how their five senses can aid them during descriptive writing.
8. Ask students if they can think of what the five senses are.
9. Have students think of how much they use touch, taste, vision, hearing, and smelling in their every day lives. These are the things that make things appealing to us, so they greatly help when trying to write a descriptive essay.
10. Link how adjectives that we learned earlier goes along with the five senses. For example, the adjectives help to describe how something looks, tastes, feels, etc.
11. Once the students understand the importance of using the five senses in conjunction with adjectives, explain to them that they are going to now do an activity using their senses. Before being told the activity, students need to be made aware of the rules they must follow (keep eyes closed if doing any sense other than sight, stop all talking and face forward when "give three" signal is displayed by teacher(s), use their cooperative group voices to assure that everyone in the room can hear their own group, quit working and face forward when time is up, ect.)
12. After the rules have been established, describe to the students that they are going to be divided into five cooperative groups. Each group will be assigned a specific sense and given a bag or a box with their sense written on it. The students are to keep their eyes closed while they have the bag or box to assure that they are not using any sense other then their assigned one (except for the sight people, who should not touch, smell, taste, or anything else). Each team member should have the chance to use their sense on the object in the bag or box and contribute to an adjective list that the group comes up with to describe what they discovered through their sense.
13. Break students into five cooperative groups, hand out the bags or box, and have students begin the activity. Warn students that they have three minutes to complete their list and make sure everyone in their group participates.
14. At the end of three minutes, put up the "give three" signal to make sure students have stopped working, quit talking, and face forward.
15. Once you have the students attention, have each group read off their adjective list while writing it on a piece of construction paper at the board so that everyone can see. Complete this until all five groups have represented all five senses.
16. Next, have the students try to think of one sentence for each sense that uses some of the adjectives and best describes the object so that someone might be able to guess what it is
17. After a sentence for each sense has been written, have students combine the sentences to form a paragraph that is written on the board to serve as a visual of what descriptive writing should look like. Remind the students that they don't even have to reveal what the object is. If they do choose to reveal the object, let them know its more exciting to wait and reveal it at the end of their writing.
18. The last activity will be for students to demonstrate their understanding of this concept, so they will do descriptive writing on their own.
19. Pass out the Adjective Brainstorming worksheet and the Descriptive Writing Template. Explain to the students that they will receive an object soon that they will be writing descriptively about. Explain the worksheets and how they are going to use them.
20. Next, pass out the Hershey's Kisses to each student (in a regular setting, make sure nobody is allergic to chocolate or whatever food you are using.)
21. Then, students will examine the Hershey's Kiss with each of the five senses, write down adjectives to go with each sense, and then form their own descriptive paragraph.
22. Once students are complete, a few students will share their paragraph with the entire group.


* Students can be assessed in the following ways:

1. Orally through their responses to questions asked in regard to adjectives and/ or senses.
2. Through their group activity pertaining to descrptive adjective use for a particular sense.
3. Through individually written descriptive paragraphs over a Hershey's Kiss.

In closing, the students will review what an adjective is as well as what they five senses are. They will also be challenged to link the two together when it comes to descriptive writing. The students will also be reminded that this technique can be used for nearly an person, place, thing, or object.

Classroom Management::
Students will not visit with any other students during the teaching time for any reason. If they have a question, they will raise their hand and ask the teacher.

Students will follow directions during the small group activity and keep eyes shut at all times (unless using sight as their sense). If they are unable to participate in the activity fairly and by following the rules, they will be removed from the group.

Students will work diligently while they are being time in their group activity. Once the time is up, they will immediately stop working, display the "give me three" signal to the teacher, and facr the front of the class.

Some adaptations will have to be made if a particular student has allergies to any of the food and/ or candy used during this activity. If this is the case, the teacher would have to be made aware of these allergies prior to the activity and adjst it accordingly.

If students have a hard time grasping the concept, they may receive extra help in understanding adjectives as well as reviewing the five senses and how to apply them to descriptive writing. This could be done before the actual lesson is taught in the classroom, or they could receive the support as a followup to the activity.

Students that struggle with working under a time constraint could be allowed extra time to complete their group activity so that they are assured an equal opportunity to participate and understand how the senses lend to descriptive writing.

Curriculum Integration::

* This lesson can be integrated into various subjects in the following ways:

1. Reading- Students could read examples of descriptive paragraphs and/ or riddles and then try to guess the item that is being described
2. Science- Students could research the five senses and how they help the body to decode information and apply it to previous knowledge to know what an object is or what it could possibly be.
3. Social Studies- Students could research a place within the United States and then apply the descriptive writing technique to describe the place (locations, climate, culture, etc.) to other students in the class.
4. Music- Songs could be taught pertaining to the senses and/or adjectives to allow students for enhanced memory recall of the concepts.

Extension Ideas
Extension Ideas:: This activity could be extended upon to allow students to do descriptive writing over other items that don't necessarily appeal to all of the sense like chocolate does. Students could also be challenged to write stories about a classmate and then place in on a "Guess Who" wall. This activity could also lead into ther writing activites with varying styles and forms of writing.

Reflecting on Light
Description: Cooperative Learning!
Subject: Science and Technology
Duration: 40 min
Grade Level: 4


Peters, J.M., Gega, P.C.(2002). Science in Elementary Education. New Jersy: Merrill Prentice Hall.
Tobecksen, Alan, Henry Clay Elementary School. (
Hearns, Lyvoonia, Randolph, A. Philip (