Descriptive Writing


Descriptive Writing


The lesson-unit includes a learning game followed by independent writing supported by an array of video tutorials and handouts.


Sharing Personal Experiences emphasizes three keys to effective descriptive writing: (1) vivid words which bring sensory and emotional experiences to life; (2) similes; and (3) pulling the experiences together into one main impression.


Carmen, editor of the Kids2Kids website, invites the student to build a blog post about an unforgettable day at the beach with friends. Short first-person videos immerse students in boogie-boarding, building a sandcastle, and singing and roasting hotdogs around a campfire.


Interactively, students choose language describing the videos, sort their words into sense and feeling categories, fill cloze-style blanks in a First Draft, and revise the draft by selecting more vivid words, phrases and similes.


Motivated by the interactive game, students apply its concepts to personal compositions on topics they care about.

Students will:

  • Write a descriptive essay to share a personal experience about a person,  place or thing;
  • Use vivid sensory and feeling words and phrases as well as similes;
  • Organize compositions around a main impression, with a strong opening, 3  supporting paragraphs, and a memorable conclusion;
  • Employ the five step writing process of pre-writing, first draft, revising, editing, and publishing;
  • Apply Grade 4-5 sentence fluency and conventions.



Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.   W4,3.d and 5.3.d
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details.   W4.9A
Recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes. SL4.4

Introducing Learning Game:

  • DESCRIBING A STRAWBERRY – Mini lesson to awaken sensory observation and trigger descriptive words and phrases. (Based on COSMIC ORANGES from  NTCE’s ReadWriteThink)


Before Independent Writing:

After Students Write First Drafts:

Download PDF for complete Descriptive Writing Teacher Guide

Teacher Guide Descriptive Writing



It is recommended that students be able to:
* Recognize sensory details;
* Use vocabulary describing sensory experiences and personal feelings;
* Organize compositions of three or more paragraphs, with topic and supporting sentences; and,
* Apply 4th Grade conventions.

Introduce and use Sharing Personal Experiences (Seat time about 25  min.)

Introducing the learning game, which is suitable for use during class, after school, “flipped” or as a homework assignment.


Students will benefit from a preliminary discussion. The mini-lesson DESCRIBING A STRAWBERRY will set students on the path to engaged, curious observing and describing.


What are some special experiences you have seen, heard, felt, smelled or tasted? Let’s list sensory and feeling words that describe them.


The game invites students to build blog posts describing videos of an exciting day at the beach.   Interactively, students choose language describing the videos, sort their words into sense and feeling categories, fill cloze-style blanks in a First Draft, and revise the draft by selecting more vivid words, phrases and similes. Scores are kept automatically. After completing the game successfully, students receive badges which can be posted to digital portfolios.



CHOOSING A PERSONAL TOPIC -Discuss a provided list of writing prompts on People, Places, andThings. Brainstorm topics, recommending that students pick experiences they most care about—the more unforgettable the better.


GRAPHIC ORGANIZER  -User testing indicates filling out an organizer helps students generate and organize ideas.


FIRST DRAFTS – Students write their first drafts. Advise them to work quickly and fix errors later.

REVISING & EDITING -(Seat time will vary.)


VIDEO TUTORIALS -Students view tutorials modeling use of the REVISING and EDITING handouts. (Note: misspellings are ignored in the REVISING video because students are encouraged to defer such corrections until EDITING.)


PREPARING TO REWRITE -Individually or collaboratively with peers, students mark their first drafts using the REVISING GUIDELINES and EDITING MARKS handouts.



  • Authors revise, edit and polish final drafts of their essays. Multimedia enhancements are encouraged.
  • First students share their work with classmates, parents, and other students through presentations and media. Essays and responses may be saved to their personal portfolios. Second, students start or join an online group where they can post their essays and receive feedback. (Make sure this is a school-approved secure site