Before you start these activities, please ask your students to bring in a photograph of a time they spent with a grandparent or older person who is important to them.
Activity 1: Warm up—Whip Around
Objective: Students will settle into class and begin to focus on the subject of the poem they will read.
Tell your students that you will go around to each member of the class quickly, asking them to share verbally, in no more than one or two sentences, the special moment they have with a grandparent or older person in the photograph. If someone does not have a photograph, they can work from memory—a somewhat different experience.
They also have the option to simply say “pass” and you can go back to them later.
Activity 2: Writing with Descriptive Detail
Objective: Students will write with sensory detail.
Ask your students to write a paragraph about the photograph/memory they just shared with the class, using as much sensory detail as they can. Remind them that this means they should use words to describe what they see and remember about the sights, smells, sounds, and, perhaps, tastes of the time they shared with their special older person.
Activity 3: Peer Share and Editing
Objective: Students will revise their paragraphs based on peer comments.
- In pairs, ask each student to read her paragraph to her partner. The partner should try to see the moment in her “mind’s eye.” Based on what they imagine from the paragraph the listener should tell her partner what other information she needs in order to see the special moment more clearly. Not only should the writer verbally answer specific questions to make the descriptive paragraph more vivid, she should make appropriate changes to her paragraph based on what she learns from the conversation.
- After this process is complete, the partners should switch roles, so the second student in the pair can receive feedback.
Activity 4: Student Presentation of Work
Objective: Students will synthesize a list of vivid descriptive words.
Ask for student volunteers to read their descriptive paragraphs to the class. After each student presents, ask the class to recount the vivid words and phrases in the paragraph. Record their answers on the front board.