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Students add sensory details to selected paragraphs here to create vivid imagery


Language Arts  



Title – Sensory Details
By – Rebecca
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – Grade 3

Essential Questions:

  • How do sensory details help to create visual imagery?
  • How does revising affect a piece of writing?


  • Performance assessment:
      Informal observations of students as they independently and collaboratively work on the assignments.
  • Written assessment:
      Students will independently revise a teacher-selected piece of writing to be handed in.
  • Written assessment (enrichment):
      Students will collaboratively revise a teacher-selected piece of writing to be handed in.
  • Oral assessment:
      Students will share their work with their classmates.


  • revisions to written pieces create images in the mind of the reader
  • sensory details strengthen writing by adding specific details
  • specialized vocabulary: sensory details, vivid imagery


  • My Grandmother’s Hair by Cynthia Rylant
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

General Procedure:

  1. Class discussion on sensory details.
    (Use “My Grandmother’s Hair” as a reference for discussion.)
  2. Independent practice of paragraph that follows about pizza.
    (Differentiation follows.) .
  3. Class share and reflections on independent practice.
    (I have the pizza paragraph written on easel paper, and I have five volunteers, one for each of the senses, write down one sensory detail they added on a Post-it. Then, the Post-it gets stuck to the appropriate place on the easel paper. The entire paragraph is read aloud and we discuss how adding details improved upon the writing.)

Differentiated Instruction:

  • Mixed ability pairings:
    • (Additional support)
      • required to find at least two places where sensory details can be added
      • helper sheet of types of sensory examples and some adjectives to enforce them
    • (Enrichment)
      • required to find at least five places where sensory details can be added
      • second writing passage with some sensory details already included; must expand existing details and create new ones in flat areas

Independent Practice: Pizza is my favorite food. I like it because it has a crust, tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings. When the pizza comes out of the oven it looks yummy, but my mother always tells me not to touch it and makes me wait a few minutes before taking a slice. She can be so mean sometimes! When I am finally allowed to take a slice, I put it on my plate and take a bite. It tastes so good! Sometimes I eat the crust first because I like the sound it makes when I bite into it. When I am done eating my first slice I always get another one because one slice of pizza is never enough for me! Usually I can only eat two or three slices before I get full, though.

      #1 Directions:

        With your partner, read the following paragraph from

The Tale of Despereaux

        . Add in sensory details to help create vivid imagery. You must find at least four places where you can add sensory details.

“Your Highness,” said Roscuro. And he crawled out of Mig’s pocket and made his way up to her shoulder and situated himself there, laying his tail across her neck to balance himself. “Your Highness,” he said again. And he raised the spoon slowly off his head and smiled, displaying his mouthful of truly hideous teeth.

        Note: situated means placed or positioned.

      #2 Directions:

        With your partner, read the following paragraph from

The Tale of Despereaux

        . Find at least three places where you can add more sensory details to help create even stronger images.

The Princess Pea was riding on a white horse that picked up its legs very high and set them down very daintily. The Pea saw Mig standing and staring, and she raised a hand to her.

E-Mail Rebecca !

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