Saturday, February 09, 2013

Poetry Tool #3: Sensory Imagery (Post #6)

Welcome back to my blog post series: Journey into Poetry Land. This is post #6 in the series. Post #1 is on All Things Upper Elementary of which I am a contributor. Read it by clicking HERE. The rest are here on my own blog. And with THAT disclaimer, on with the post.

With the four parts of Tool #2 addressed (we won't say mastered, but time will fix that!), I was excited to move on to Tool #3- Sensory Imagery. 

I had the students start by opening their journals and turn to the next clean page. They wrote "TOOL #3- SENSORY IMAGERY" at the top. I then had them list what they thought the 5 senses were. I got some pretty funny answers,. like "color". 

After we all agreed on what the five senses are, I told them that we were going to do a writing experiment with food. That caught their attention. They had never heard about a writing experiment and I rarely let them have food in my class. 

FLASHBACK: I had planned to buy a decent treat for each student- like mini-candy bars. However, aside from forgetting until the day of my lesson, I have two diabetic students and didn't want to deal with shots and monitors due to my lesson. So, I dug around in my "stash" and found a bunch of packages of mini-gummi worms and bears. Just enough to do the writing project, but not too much to get them all hyper. So, when I do this again, I will use the exact same size candy/treats.


I handed out a work mat to each student and explained what they were to do. I told them to pretend that this was the last piece of candy they would ever get to eat and write about each sense so that they would always remember the different senses about it. I had them close their eyes and hold out their hands. I put one piece in each child's hand. They were to discover the "touch" sense with their eyes closed so they could really focus on what they had in their hand. Once they felt they could describe it, they opened their eyes and went to work silently recording all the other 5 senses about their candy. I gave them about 5 minutes to work after which time they shared with their partners and discussed words and phrases they used.

The kids were all excited about being able to eat and talk about candy. Next, I read them the poem, The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and I had them draw a picture of what they saw in their minds as they listened to the poem. I was amazed at the level of detail some kids picked up that related to sounds and smells they would have smelled.

This activity was my bridge to the final activity of the lesson. I have collected old calendars for years so I could have the scenic pictures from them. I have used this pictures for art lessons, writing lessons, and today it was for sensory lessons. I put a picture under the document camera and asked students to study the picture and give me a "sight" sense from the picture. We talked about the colors, etc.

Then, I asked for a "hearing" sense word. They looked at me for a minute and then a student blurted out "tweeting". We all laughed, I reminded them to raise their hands, and then we discussed that that was a correct answer. Some students struggled to "imagine" what they would smell, feel, hear, and taste if they were standing in that spot. Many were adamant that they would NOT lick rocks, trees, or animals, and therefore could not fill out the taste column of their work mat. I stopped the class and we discussed how smell and taste work in tandem and that sometimes what we smell outside, we can almost taste. This seemed to help them feel better about writing what things might "taste" like.

Here are a few pictures of students working with various pictures. Each student had their OWN picture, but I think when I do this again, I will have the students work in pairs- they will write silently for 5 minutes and then work together for 5 minutes or so. I think they will be more productive that way.

I reminded the students to write LOTS of details because class was ending and I would be gathering back up the pictures and they would do a writing assignment with their work mats the next day WITHOUT getting the pictures back. ha ha. That got them focused on writing.

As class ended, students returned the pictures to me and put their work mats in their desks. We reviewed what we had covered for the day, I handed out the poem, The Brook as homework and sent them on their way.

Wahoo! Another successful lesson taught. This one has been one of my favorites thus far in this unit. In the next post I will explain what they did with their work mats, and more about the next poetry tool.

-Mr. Hughes


  1. I'm your newest follower! I blogged about your Dodecahedron Book Reports through a linky on my blog. My students love them! You'll have to check it out!

    Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I enjoyed stopping by your blog as well.

  2. The last candy they would ever get to eat, haha, love it!

    Also, I never thought of talking to the kids about smell and taste working together. Maybe it's because I talk more about using the senses in nonfiction writing, but I see where this could lead in a poetry unit!

    1. lol-
      Thanks for your comment!
      Yeah, it was a fun lesson and I can't wait to do more like it. Happy Monday!

  3. What a neat post! So much fun for kids! I had so many cool lessons involving candy...whole plans that revolved around M & M's and Smarties...until our school put a Health and Wellness Policy into place about six years ago. Now food is not allowed in the classroom. :( It is such a motivator, too!

    1. @The Peanut Gallery-
      Bummer on food in the classroom. I understand why, but I think there is a lot of value in using small treats once in a while, especially if it helps teach a valid/needed component of an idea. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

  4. Okay, I had to pause for a moment and try to recall all five. 1. Sight 2. Feel 3. Taste 4.Hearing 5. Smell

    So, how did I do?

  5. @Diplo_Daddy
    Nice job-you nailed 'em! So nice to hear from you. Hope all is well.

  6. I LOVE THIS LESSON!!! THANKS SO MUCH!!! I'm trying to get ideas for Poetry Month (I know I'm a little early :-)), glad I came across your blog!!! NEW SUBBY!! :-)

    1. Denise-
      Thanks for your kind words. I, too, am so pleased to hear that you found this blog. It is fantastic to have you along for the journey! Have a great night! :)


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