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QUICKSTEPS                                  pencil2.jpg

                             to a short essay: Descriptive Writing     

Descriptive writing is used for engineering projects, biology papers, education assignments, etc.

Here is a brief lesson for writing a short essay based on the description of an ideal house.

The Process

1. Develop your students' range of adjectives and words for emotions in pre-writing discussion.

2. Also discuss building the description from the outside of the house to the inside, and alternatives for a walk-through.

      See the Tutorial in Constructing the Paragraph >5. Ordering Principles for some ideas on descriptive writing.

3. Have students view the two pictures individually or in small groups. Then place students in pairs according to which house they decide they like best. (TIP: To enhance the lesson visually, you can search YouTube for videos about different kinds of houses. Search using  "modern house" or "traditional house." Or use additional cutouts of photos from magazines.)

4. Encourage students in their pair or small group to discuss what emotions/feelings the sample houses elicit? Why are these important? What kinds of rooms might be important in such a house? Why?

5. After reviewing the picture together and taking notes, have students write individually about their favorite house, explaining why they like it, what emotions they feel about it, and so on. Allow students to confer with each other as they write, and make available an online thesaurus and dictionary.

     TWO HOUSES (Use these pictures, or cutout similar pictures of houses from a magazine.)

A. Suggested picture option: Rustic Country
Rustic country house by Grig Stamate
B. Suggested picture option: Glass Pavilion
Glass Pavillion by Steven Hermann

6. After writing, have students exchange papers with other pairs/groups who wrote about a different house. Encourage discussion of the differences/similarities in the feelings expressed.

7. Students may develop the short writing into a longer essay, which will undergo revision in a subsequent draft after peer review.

Read/Think/Write also has some nice Flash-based applications for writing different types of essays. Take a look! (Use the Search engine in the left sidebar of the site, selecting your Grade Level, Resource Type, Learning Objective, etc.)

Please see also the many ideas for essay writing available at Academic Writing YG (membership required), which also includes Constructing the Paragraph.

-- Dr. Elizabeth Hanson-Smith
    Writing Teacher

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updated 29 April 2017