To make students aware of multiple senses, I give them a handful of highlighter pens and ask them to color code their writing as follows:
- sight - green
- hearing - orange
- touch - pink
- smell - yellow
- taste - purple
- emotion - blue
After highlighting the senses used in writing, something is always missing, and it's usually not what the students sees.
Sure, students can write about the green leafy canopy above, but how about including the sounds of the wind blowing those leaves and the crunch below their feet as they wander through the woods?
Or students could write about how they shiver in the cool breeze that spreads the scent of pine through the forest. Smell is quite powerful in writing because it often connects the reader to a memory. While smell provides the memory, taste means a challenge to the novice writer and is often the hardest sense to incorporate into a scene. When kids write about taste, make sure the taste has meaning in whatever is being written, rather than something thrown into a story for the sake of including the sense of taste. It is better to leave taste out altogether than to add it in a way that doesn't work for the reader.
I've also included emotion because a story with no emotion will come off as flat. After all, we are usually writing stories with main characters, and the more relatable the character, the more we will care about where they go or what they do.
Including multiple senses in writing is like colorizing a black and white movie. For a fun and productive lesson, have your students critique their own writing for senses and then work to add whatever is missing. Be sure to share the results!
If you are interested in teaching students to write using multiple senses, below is a link to a PowerPoint lesson that does just that.
Using Senses in Writing
I send these posts to my mailing group; however, they get free resources along with the article. You can, too. Just join my group by clicking below!
You will also receive a FREE No Prep Problem Solving Pack!
Thanks to Kate Hadfield Designs for the clipart.