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Lesson 4: Descriptive Language

Lesson Details

Subject: English/Languages Arts
Learning Level: Middle School
Author(s): Bonnie Frazier and Brian Grisetti
Submitted by:


The focus of this lesson is identification of descriptive language (i.e., sensory imagery) in writing and telling how it enhances the story.

Lesson fundamental understandings:
Essential Questions:

a. Descriptive words enhance the sensory images presented to the reader.
b. Sensory words and phrases invoke all five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch).
c. When sensory words are eliminated, the story is reduced to a literal telling.


National Standards

Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

State Standards

6.6.1 Generate ideas for writing by responding to a visual stimuli such as objects and photographs.


Prerequisite Skills

Students will be able to identify and list adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, and specific nouns.

Teacher Information/Situations/Setting/Time

Time Frame: 1-2 50 minute periods
Materials/Resources: pencil, paper, pictures and photos to be described
Pre-lesson preparation: Lists of sensory adjectives, vivid verbs, pictures and photos that invite description


Journal entries, including items from scavenger hunt.

Student Activity/Tasks

1. The students listen to teacher-read story presented on the overhead.
2. After the selection has been read several times, students participate in a whole-class discussion on why descriptive language makes a story more effective due to the images created.
3. The students write a short journal entry on why they think descriptive language makes a story more effective.
4. The teacher divides the class into their small groups and participate in a descriptive language scavenger hunt, locating examples rich in sensory images from various sources, including books from the classroom home, samples from the internet.

Enrichment/Alternate Activity:

The students work in pairs to read their selection while their partners draw the images that come to mind.


Art, Reading

Technology Requirements/Tools/Materials

Computer optional


Additional Resources

Main URL:

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