Five Senses Stations
While teaching descriptive writing it is important to teach young writers to utilize all five senses to engage readers. Like real people, well developed fictional characters function in a world using more than just sight. Sights, smells, sounds, touches and tastes also create a strong sense of place.
Set up five sense stations–tables for with items for students to see, touch, smell, taste and hear (you might use recorded sounds on the computer).
Divide the class into breakout groups. The breakout groups circulate through the stations using descriptive language to describe what they are sensing. Students are asked to create a character who is experiencing these sights, sounds, smells, tastes and write a scene. When writing about taste I do not allow students to use comparisons to other foods.
Story Elements Stations
- Divide the class into small groups
- Set up stations
Station 1 – puppets or pictures of people and interview graphic organizer. Students will interview their puppet or person in their picture and write a character sketch.
Station 2 - fimo or plasticine. Students will draw and create a setting using fimo.
Station 3 – cd player or iPod and music to play various sound effects or instrumental music. Students will write about the atmosphere the effects or music create.
Station 4 – box or basket filled with typed problems that characters could encounter. The characters are given a conflict that they must solve.
- Students rotate through various stations and write a descriptive paragraph for each station
- Students draft a story based on what they have described.
Given the opportunity to write descriptively by focusing on one paragraph at each station shortens the “what am I going to write about?” thinking time. Following the writing of paragraphs at each station, students can jump right into a first draft of a story.