Monday, November 14, 2011

Descriptive Writing in Science?

I don't know about where you live, but here in Virginia the foliage is in peak season.  It just seems like the perfect time to get outside and do some observations.  It's time to touch, smell and notice! So how can we turn our observations into descriptive writing? 

In the new "Science-Centered Language Development" research developed by FOSS ( authors suggest that through observations of living organisms, an environment, an object or phenomenon we can recapture the sensory images clearly into very descriptive writing. 

So how do we start?  We start with a walk outside to observe a particular object or area.  Have the students take note of what they see, smell, hear, notice, etc... I have created a worksheet based on the suggestions by FOSS and the scaffold that they suggest. The frame sentences look something like this:

I observed ________________.  When I touch the _________ I feel _______________.  The ______has ____.  I noticed _____.  It feels ________.  It smells _________. It reminds me of ______ because ____________.

You can find a printer friendly version at Google Docs on the side bar for FREE!

When they come in, they take these notes and turn it into a paragraph.  You can remind the students to show, rather than tell, through the use of active verbs and vivid details.  I have found that by providing the scaffolded structure, the students know how to set up the paragraph better and end up spending more time on the descriptive wording. 

I'd love to hear what you think!

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