Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sensory Language for our writing!

So, I was just thinking about how blessed I am to teach writing to my 42 4th graders. Yes, it is a challenge but it is a challenge that I love. Just looking at their writing from the beginning of the year until now is amazing because it really shows their growth. I am a big believer and trainer for 'Write from the Beginning'. A writing program that starts in Kindergarten and can go all the way up to high school. Basically it teaches kids to organize their pre-writing into thinking maps. It teaches the structure of a sentence, paragraph, and then paper starting in Kindergarten. This is wonderful because by the time they get to 4th grade- they are ready to get creative. It has a HUGE success rate in schools that use it and it turns teachers who are scared of teaching writing into confident writing teachers. I am sure that I will post many blogs on what my students are doing with their writing and I will definitely talk more about Write from the Beginning, but I just wanted to give you a little taste first... 

A few months ago we were talking about sensory language. Sensory language is language that makes you feel as though you are inside a paper. It plays on your 5 senses and makes vivid descriptions in a reader's mind. When I first introduced sensory language, I  asked my students to close their eyes and tell me about the cafeteria. What did they smell, see, taste, touch, and hear? They started brainstorming and we put their ideas into a tree map of all the sensory words. Then I asked them to expand and think of other words outside of the cafeteria that could fit inside our tree map. This is what it ended up looking like:

I then assigned each student one of the 5 senses and they had to write a sentence using their sensory language about the cafeteria. We put all of these into a tree map for the cafeteria. The students loved it, the other grade levels thought it was cool, and the staff thought it was very helpful! This project really helped my students understand what sensory language was all about. 

I will take a picture of the cafeteria tree map and post it here so I'm sorry I don't have it right now....

Well, I'm off to a friend's house to watch the super bowl. GO PACK GO! :-) Peace, love, and teaching. 

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