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A Fun Way to Practice Descriptive Writing

Written by Jesse


At the recent iste conference (International Society for Technology in Education) I came across some first graders from a school in California who were displaying a project they did. It was a very clever, fun way to work on descriptive writing. If the students did not include sufficient details in what they wrote, the results of the project would not be as desirable. The more descriptive the writing, the happier the students would be with the final product. Here’s what the project looked like:
 The first thing each student did was draw a monster. They were encouraged to make their monsters as crazy, silly, and zany as they wanted. The pictures I saw included monsters with one eye, extra arms, purple hair and so forth. When their artistic creation was complete, they then had to write a description of their monster. The students were motivated to carefully describe every inch of their monster, because when they were done, just the description was sent to first grade students in Turkey.  When these students got the descriptions, it was their job to draw the monster themselves as best they could. The students in California did the same thing with descriptions sent by the Turkish students. Nobody saw any of the original drawings until the big moment: when all the results were revealed. The students were truly excited to see how the pictures measured up. At the conference, they showed me a book of all the monster pairs, side by side, and jumped at the opportunity to show me how their own monster was described and drawn.


While it might be difficult to find some willing participants in Turkey, this project can be recreated right at home. You could pair up with your child or have siblings collaborate on this monster exchange project. During these summer months, it’s important to work on skills such as writing now and then. This is a great way to motivate them to write. If a child has a specific purpose for writing, he or she will put more time and effort into their work.



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About the author


Jesse has taught in various elementary and high school settings. He writes for Plaza Famila and also designs educational online resources. Jesse is a musician and is passionate about providing instruction in a way that sparks student interest.

  • Esmeraldaleft33

    Oh my lord I got such a big joy out of just thinking of doing this activity with my boys and my nieces. My sister and I, we both have 2 small children but we live 2 hours apart and we see each other on average only twice a month. I think this would be a wonderful project for my children and my sister’s to work together in, I think it will help grow their bond and they’ll have lots of fun doing it. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenna.tomaszewski.35 Jenna Tomaszewski

    This is a great idea to incorporate not only at home but at school as well. I am teaching VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten) in the fall and I believe the kid would love it. It would be a great addition to the portfolio I want to start to showcase their work throughout the year. Even a cool idea to have them try and redo this monster at the end of the year to see what they come up with and how they progress.

  • Pablo

    Although not the easiest thing to get done, I think it would be possible to have children from other countries to get involved in this through Facebook. There are groups out there which promote children around the world to connect with one another. I think if parents spent a little bit of their time to organize this, it could be a very entertaining and highly educational experience.

  • Jesse

    This could definitely be done online! All you need is email and a digital camera! The first graders I talked with REALLY seemed to love doing it, and I’m sure it would be just as enjoyable for any level elementary student.

  • http://www.MommyMaestra.com/ Monica

    I love this activity! How very clever! I’m thinking this would be a great exercise for my homeschool group of kids. Thanks so much for sharing this!