Focus Question: What components are needed to write a sentence?
Tell students, “Today, we are going to take a trip outside, and you are going to make some observations. Who knows what it means to observe?” Take some answers. Say, “I want you to look around you and make a list of interesting things that you see along the way. You will need to be quiet during this activity because I also want you to listen and write down things that you hear. When we come back in, we are going to use what we observed to create a classroom picture book about our walk. What things might we see if we walk outside?” Ask for student responses and write them down in the first column of the Descriptive Writing Chart from Lesson 1 (LW-1-1-1_Descriptive Writing Chart.doc) displayed on the overhead or on chart paper to model taking observation notes. Tell students that this list of things is made up of nouns. Ask students what they could add to each noun to make it more detailed or descriptive (students should answer adjectives or descriptive words). Remind students that descriptive words tell about a noun, using one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Ask students to help you add some descriptive adjectives to your list of nouns and record student responses on the overhead or chart paper in the appropriate columns. You may need to prompt students by asking questions, such as
- “What color is it?”
- “How tall or big is it?”
- “Is it rough or soft or smooth?”
- “What does it smell like (for example, flowers or freshly cut grass)?”
- “What does it sound like?”
Make sure each student has a clipboard or something firm to write on, a copy of the Descriptive Writing Chart from Lesson 1 (LW-1-1-1_Descriptive Writing Chart.doc), and a pencil. Say to students, “Now that we know how to fill out our chart, let’s go outside and make some observations. I would like each of you to write down five things (nouns) that you see on our walk. Then I’d like you to record as much detail about each thing as you can.” Take students on a walk around the playground or an outside area that may be near your school. Help students as they record their observations.
Have students keep their observation records for Part 2 of this lesson and for Lesson 3.
Have students go to the gathering area with their observation records. Tell students, “Today we are going to use our observations to write a story about our walk. First, I need for each of you to identify and describe one thing that you saw so I can record it on the observation chart.” Record the student responses (list of nouns and their descriptive adjectives) on chart paper or an enlarged copy of the Descriptive Writing Chart. Tell students, “Remember, each noun should have enough descriptive adjectives so that someone who wasn’t there could picture it in his or her mind.” Ask students, “Are there any nouns on the list that should have more descriptive adjectives?” Once students have described each noun with sufficient descriptive adjectives, model how to use the information from the completed chart to write descriptive sentences.
Say, “Now let’s use the observations to help us write a story about our walk. Our story will have a beginning, a middle filled with lots of descriptive sentences, and an end.” Begin by writing an opening sentence to the story on the board (or overhead or chart paper). For example, write Today we went outside for a walk.
Talk to students about the parts to the sentence: who, what, when, where, why. Remind students that sentences begin with a capital letter and have end punctuation. Ask students if they have other ideas for how to begin the story. Record these as well, and then ask if it would be better to start the story with a question or an exclamation. Ask students for examples of an opening question and an exclamation, and model each of these types of sentences on the overhead or chart paper. Finally, have students tell which sentence they would like to begin the story and why.
Next, model a descriptive sentence using an item from the class chart. For example, if you were describing a tree, you might write, The first thing I saw was a gigantic, twisted oak tree with red and brown leaves. Talk to students about the opening transition words that tell the reader “when” and are used to help sequence the story. Next, ask students to tell you which words are the nouns in the sentence. Then ask which words are the adjectives. As students respond, underline (or circle or star) in different colors the transitions, nouns, and adjectives. Then ask students if they have any other descriptive words they would like to add to the sentence.
Ask for students to volunteer to orally create more descriptive sentences as you continue to model writing the complete sentences on the board. If a student is not able to fully describe the item, go back to the observation list to see what other descriptive words could be added to the sentence. After each sentence, ask students to tell you which word(s) are used to help move the story along (transitions), which word(s) are nouns, and which are adjectives, and then mark each sentence part (or have students come up and mark them). Continue writing the class story by asking for students to share descriptive sentences as you write them on the board or chart paper. Help students with crafting a variety of sentences by prodding them to think of interesting introductory words to help with sequencing or by changing some of the statements into a question or exclamation. Once the story is complete, read it to the class. Ask students if the story has:
- an opening sentence.
- interesting descriptive sentences.
- a variety of types of sentences: statement, question, exclamation.
- transitions that help to move the story along.
- an ending sentence.
- correct punctuation.
Have students keep their completed Descriptive Writing Chart for Lesson 3.
- Have students copy all or some of the story and create a picture book by illustrating each sentence.