Writing. It is something that most of my students are not very good at. Most of their writing is boring and contains no real details or imagery. So how can I get their writing to be something that is boring and hard to read to something that is good and enjoyable to read?
Well, it’s in the Kiss. To be more specific it is in the Hershey Kiss.
My fourth graders are reading Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. This book is so full of descriptions and imagery, and it is captivating to read. So, I have my students a Hershey Kiss, and had them use the five senses to describe the Kiss. Then they used the words and put them into a short paragraph like a mad-lib. I had my students read aloud the mad-lib they created.
The next thing that I did was I gave my students a few passages from our book that I thought were full of imagery. They had to underline the words or phrases that showed imagery. Then they had to organize their answers into the five senses. The book Hatchet is so full of imagery and descriptions. It has to be. There is only one main character, Brian, and he is by himself in the Canadian Wilderness. Gary Paulsen did a great job of allowing us to be connected to Brian through his description of his frustration, loneliness, excitement, hunger, and pain. We feel his excitement when he first makes fire. We feel relief when he is able to catch fish or the kill of foolbirds for the first time. We feel his pain when he is struck by the quills of a porcupine. We feel his relief when he is finally rescued. We feel that through imagery.
The goal is to give my students the ability and skills to write with imagery. I know that it won’t happen in one lesson, but it will allow us to have a good starting point. To meet that goal, I put up a large picture of the Canadian wilderness with green evergreen trees and snow-capped mountains. My students are using that picture as a backdrop. I told them to imagine they had to describe this place to a person who has never been there before, or have never seen the picture. What I like about this lesson, is that I hear students asking students questions such as, “what do you think the air smells like?”; “what do Evergreens feel like?”; “What do you think the air smells like?” It is great to hear students brainstorming with each other.
We will eventually type some of these onto the class blog.