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Confection Connection: Using Sensory Details in Writing
|Grades||2 – 4|
|Activity Time||60 to 90 minutes (can be done over two 45-minute sessions)|
- Two pieces of identical candy for each participating child
- Sensory Detail Graphic Organizer
- A thesaurus (optional)
- Ask the children to describe an everyday household object such as an apple. In most cases, the children will share visual characteristics such as it is round, red, shiny, has a brown stem, etc. If they do include other sensory descriptions like “it’s sweet” or “it’s crunchy,” point out that these words help you to better imagine what eating the apple would be like.
- Ask children what the five senses are; help them to identify all five (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell). Talk about how a good description includes more than just how an object looks but how it affects our five senses.
- Tell the children that they are going to investigate how to describe some candy by using their five senses.
- Give each participating child a copy of the Sensory Detail Graphic Organizer and two pieces of candy. (Each child in the group can have a different kind or flavor of candy, but the two pieces each individual child has should be identical.) Have each child write the name of the candy in the main box on the organizer.
- Have each child write notes about how the candy looks (shape, color, size) and record it in the How does it look? box.
- Have each child unwrap and touch the candy and write how it feels (slippery, rough, soft, hard) in the How does it feel? box.
- Have each child smell the candy and write how it smells (sweet, sour, like chocolate, like cinnamon) in the How does it smell? box.
- Have each child put the candy in their mouths and write how it sounds as they bite (crunchy, loud, soft) when they chew it in the sound box. You can also ask the children to add to the How does it feel? box at this point. (How does it feel in your mouth? Sticky, hard, it burns my tongue a little, etc.)
- Finally, have each child record how it tastes (sweet, sour, salty) in the How does it taste? box.
- Ask children to write descriptive paragraphs using their notes from the organizer. You might encourage them to look up words in the thesaurus to expand their descriptive vocabulary. Or ask them to try and use one simile or metaphor. For example, if a child has said that a piece of candy is salty, you might ask them to think of something else that is salty and then write something like “the candy is salty like the sea.”
- When all children are finished, have them exchange their paragraphs (along with second piece of candy) with each other to read and enjoy!
For added fun, distribute the candy secretly and have each child conduct their candy research in private. Have them write their descriptive paragraphs without naming the candy. Have them exchange finished paragraphs and see if the readers can guess the name of the candy. If they are correct, give them the piece of candy to enjoy!
The person or group of people that the message of a piece of writing is meant for. Most pieces of writing have more than one audience.