Since it’s the end of the year and the days are speeding by, and the end of the school year is basically upon us, we thought it would be fun to share the most recent descriptive writing project we’ve been working on with our middle school students. Our kids are absolutely loving this project, which is a win-win because it can definitely be tough to keep them engaged toward the end of the school year! We’ve outlined our lesson plan for this activity step-by-step below 🙂
1. First, we got our students’ attention by asking them to pretend they had the opportunity to purchase their dream house and what that dream house would include! Here’s just some of what they came up with: a chocolate fountain, a zip-line that goes from the roof into the Costa Rican rainforest (sounds awesome), a spa room with massage chairs, a movie theatre with popcorn ready all the time, and a “modern kitchen with all the essential appliances and a backsplash of subway tiles” (someone clearly watches HGTV at home!).
2. We explained that for this writing unit, students would pretend they were looking through a newspaper and came across a description of a home that met ALL the criteria of their dream house. Their challenge: to write that description!
3. We gave our class a list of real estate terminology used to sell homes (tranquil, elegant, modern, luxurious, etc.), and had our students star the words they would like to use to describe their dream home.
4. Then, we displayed six words that belong in the “Word Graveyard” (good, nice, big, small, etc.) on the board that our students might be tempted to use to describe their dream homes, and challenged them to use the thesaurus and our classroom word wall to come up with more descriptive alternatives.
5. After, we did a mini-lesson on adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases, and had our students partner up (which they love!) to create more descriptive sentences based on the dull ones we provided. For example, students had to change, “The path led to the front door,” into a more detailed image using the grammar guidelines we had just reviewed (i.e. add 2 adjectives, 1 adverb, and 1 prepositional phrase).
6. Our students were then ready to start seriously brainstorming the characteristics of their own homes. We showed them a sample descriptive paragraph about our own dream house (think views of the ocean from every window!) and challenged them to brainstorm and draft a paragraph about their own home.
7. Finally, we let our kids decorate a blank house template (interior and exterior) we provided for them, explaining that anything they drew, had to have been included in their written description. Here are some of the houses our students came up with (we love the walk-in closet in the first one!).
Tomorrow, we will be putting the finishing touches on our dream houses, so we will upload pictures once they’re fully complete, so you can see what they look like! We have to say, this has probably been one of the highlights of writing for them this year!