Your Turn: Using Adjectives to Create a Rich Description
Hook: Read a book about ice cream such as Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons. How many of you like ice-cream, sherbet, or frozen yogurt? Turn and talk with your partner about your favorite flavors. Let’s share with the whole group (Teacher records student responses on the board)
Brainstorm: (Prewrite) Make your own list of ice cream flavors in your writer’s notebook. Take your favorite flavor and create word storm in your notebook. Use as many adjectives as you can to describe your favorite flavor and its taste, texture. What does it look like? Describe your feelings when you eat it. You may use it later to write another notebook entry. Turn and share lists with a partner.
Purpose: Today we are going to use ice-cream flavors to help us recall a vivid memory for our writer’s notebook. The entry will probably be short, maybe four to eight sentences. You will probably use many writing strategies quite naturally such as appeal to the senses and vivid adjectives (including color words). You may find yourself describing the setting, too. That’s okay!
Model: Teacher writes ice-cream memory on the board in front of the students, thinking aloud and sharing his/her writing process.
As I sit on a wooden bench on the busy boardwalk, I stare at the vanilla ice-cream scoop that sits on top of a waffle cone. The soft loveliness curls to a little peak and is almost too perfect to eat. As I round the sides to smoothness, I watch the rolling waves of the ocean. With each lick, I know that the vanishing ice-cream will soon be gone. When I reach the crunchy cone, the taste is still sweet but noisy like the ocean. I turn my attention to the pastel hotels that are beginning to reflect the late afternoon sun. Suddenly, my hand is empty. The long shadows over the land tell me it is time to go home.
Guided Writing: Turn and talk about the memory. What did you like about it? Open your notebook and try to write an ice-cream memory. It may be helpful to have students brainstorm settings and write one sentence about each before deciding on the entry. For example, from Lynne’s notebook:
Boardwalk – I sat on the hard, wooden bench and watched the waves rolling in and out, licking my creamy vanilla cone in rhythm with the waves.
The teacher walks around the room and peeks at what students are doing (roving conferences with clipboard). After some time, have students share in small groups and in whole groups. Copy some of their sentences on chart paper to include as “expert” samples.
Independent Practice: Now try to write a notebook entry about a real ice-cream memory. Think a moment, do a web or list to get started, refer to your word storm, settings, or just start writing. Remember, you are not writing an entire story! Give students time to write and share (even if only with a partner).
Reflection: Take a look at what you wrote and at the teacher sample.
- How did the adjectives work for you?
- Are there too many? Just the right amount? How do you know?
- When do you think adjectives are most appropriate?
- If you could revise this entry, what is one thing you would absolutely do? Try it out.
Projection (Optional): Create a goal for yourself that will help your reader to visualize your words.
- Try to appeal to a sense you don’t usually use – like smell, taste, or touch.
- Look at your adjectives. Are they vivid and exact?
- Do you use color?
- Examine past portfolio entries to see how you have used the senses to create description. Choose a piece for possible revision(s).
- Find examples in your reading where authors appeal to the senses and copy them into your notebooks. What strategy has an author used that you could try on for size?