Thanksgiving is a great holiday to develop your students’ descriptive writing skills. When I introduced my most recent writing activity to my fifth graders, they were pretty enthusiastic about it. Why? Well,it involved food. Yes, it turns out that most intermediate-level students love to write about food. Who knew?!
The challenge was simple: Write a descriptive paragraph about Thanksgiving dinner that causes the teacher’s mouth to water. I told them that good writers can actually cause the reader to undergo a physical change when reading their words. If you really think about it, that is so true. Great writers of scary stories know how to increase our pulse and sometimes even break into goosebumps. Physical change. Authors of beautiful love stories will cause us to cry tears of sadness or joy with their choice of words. Physical change. As I explained this to my students, I could see their eagerness to make the teacher’s mouth water through their own writing.
I handed out the writing organizer and encouraged them to be generous with their adjectives and use of figurative language. Then they began to write. After all students were finished with their first draft, they traded papers, did some editing and revising, and conferenced with me individually.
Well, they certainly rose to the challenge. My mouth was seriously watering throughout the entire process, and my stomach actually began to grumble halfway through the conferences, which, of course, my fifth graders thought was hilarious. Mission accomplished. Physical change!
They then wrote their final copy and added an illustration. I created a bulletin board to showcase my authors’ work, just in time for parent conferences. The parents truly enjoyed reading the descriptions and I smile (and get a little hungry) every time I walk past the display! SO proud of my class!
Go ahead! Give your students the mouth-watering challenge! I’m sure they will enjoy the writing as much as you will love the results! If you are interested in the writing organizer and writing paper I used for the activity, you can find it HERE. It is part of my November ELA Unit, which is FULL of November-related informational passages, worksheets, activities, centers, poetry, and writing!