Lesson plan

Dashing Descriptions

Captivating writing features sensory and descriptive details. In this lesson, students learn to include details when writing personal narrative and come up with the descriptions that best exemplify their story.
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Students will be able to use different types of descriptive words to add relevent details to a story.

(5 minutes)
  • Draw two people on the board: one very short and one very tall.
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner about how each person looks using relevant details and descriptions.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that there are lots of words we use to describe things when we read. Sometimes we use sensory words. Sensory words are words that describe how we experience events and the world through our five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound.
  • Tell students that sometimes we describe things by using opposite words. Opposite words are words like tall and short, big and little, and dark and light. Using opposite words helps us to contrast two things, people, and ideas.
  • Write sentences about the people on the board using opposite words (tall/short) and sensory details (describe how the people look).
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the excerpt of the fiction text and discuss how the author used descriptive language to describe the events, people, things, and ideas in the story.
  • Tell students that they are going to write a personal narrative, or story about their life, using descriptive words. The challenge will be to use both sensory details and at least one instance of opposite words.
  • Model how to write a paragraph of a personal narrative using relevant, descriptive details.
(30 minutes)
  • Have students write personal narratives using descriptive details (sensory words and at least one instance of opposite words).
  • If students finish early, they can complete one of the following worksheets: It’s the Opposite, Same or Different, Use Your Senses, and Fill in the Sensory Details.


  • Have students write a descriptive paragraph instead of an entire personal narrative.


  • Have students share their personal narratives with a partner, eliciting feedback and revising writing as needed.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess students’ understanding by noticing how they are using different describing words.
  • Review students' ablility to clearly express their ideas and feelings aloud in partners and with the whole group.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share a description from their personal narratives in partnerships. Enourage students to share the people, places, things, and events that happened in the narrative.
  • Allow volunteers to share their narratives aloud with the class after their partner-share.

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