Thursday, October 25, 2012
Halloween Descriptive Writing Monster Activity
Every year I start teaching descriptive writing with the describe a monster project. I've seen it around in other venues but I first heard about this idea from a co-worker. We instruct the children to draw a monster, any monster they want. I encourage them to add details and use colors. Other than that, I do not give them any other instructions. I do tell them to keep their drawings top secret. I then have the students describe their monsters. No matter how much I want to instruct them on being descriptive, I hold my tongue. I just tell them to describe it using complete sentences. I then collect the monster pictures and then the descriptions. In the next lesson, I pass out the descriptions randomly just making sure that no one gets their own. The students then have to draw the monster using only the description. I tell them that if the description doesn't say it, don't draw it or make it up. On the third lesson, we begin comparing the original drawing to the second one. It is such an eye opener to the students. We discuss ideas that would have made a better picture in the mind of the reader. I use words like vertical and horizontal when describing stripes and color and shape words. This year I added a twist to this project. I let the students get together with the person who read their description. I had the drawer explain to the writer what he/she would have liked to know in order to draw the picture better. I then had the writer revise their writing based on the recommendations. My plan was to then have another class read the descriptions and see if the new pictures were closer to the original. It didn't work out this time. I will repeat this lesson though every month. Hopefully I can add the last piece in eventually. Here are some pictures of my students' work: The original is on the left followed by the original writing then the second drawing and the revision.