That doomed moment when you pre-empt that your class are going to write a load of drivel and 💩 even before they have left the carpet.
You’ve modelled writing descriptive phrases countless times and wonder why you’re even bothering to stand at the front of the class, pen poised in your hand, floating mid air as you choose a child to verbalise a descriptive sentence opener. “It could be a clause or just a descriptive noun phrase,” you explain. A few hands fly into the air and you try your best to choose a helpful starter.
You choose the child who closely resembles yourself in more ways than you care to acknowledge, she flies into a rambling description starting with “As the Pacaya volcano erupts,”
Startled, like a deer caught in headlights, you stutter a thank you and resist the urge to squeal. Smiling, you scribe the sentence opener on the board. “Who knows what I need to write next?” – you ask, hoping that they’ll recognise the clause being used and remember the need for a comma. A chorus naming the punctuation mark sings in the air and before you’ve even had a chance to ask for another volunteer to help provide ideas, Meerkat is blurring out his next idea to lead on from Mini-Me’s starter. “Glowing, bubbling lava dribbles down the side of the volcano.” he announces.
‘Who are these children?’ You think to yourself. ‘Where have they been these last 18 months?’ You can’t contain the giggle of delight that escapes you as you frantically try and scribble meerkat’s ideas onto the board.
Maybe a little incentive will the spark they all need to be able to start their writing like this and try to keep it up, all the way through today’s writing…?
The stamp that tells a student the headteacher would love to see their work gets their attention and before you know it the competition is set. They all want the stamp, but you insist that only one child can receive the stamp each week! They scramble to their tables and begin writing. You think to yourself ‘What have I done?’
By the end of the lesson, you dread marking the books and reading the awful attempts they have made. You can’t bring yourself to even look at them. However you are happily shocked and surprised to find that some of them have actually listened to you!? Their writing makes sense and has beautiful descriptions. Oh, if only it had correct use of capital letters too?! 😩 That wasn’t really the focus of the lesson and it’s possible that with the excitement and hurry to write beautiful, detailed descriptions, capital letters were the last thing they were thinking of. They were thinking of that coveted stamp!
I feel like there should be a mic drop emoji right now! 👍🏼 Here is a few examples of the descriptive writing, I read after this lesson…(obviously spelled correctly with perfect punctuation!)
Example: 🌋 1
As the Pacaya volcano erupts, the steaming, bubbling, hot lava comes out of the volcano. You can feel the ground shaking as the gigantic volcano erupts. You can hear the bubbling, steaming lava getting closer and closer to you, as it comes out of the volcano and onto the green, lovely grass. As the volcano erupts, you can see the grey, black ash cloud coming out of the top of the Pacaya volcano.
Example: 🌋 2
As the volcano erupts, you can hear the bubbly, orange, volcanic, hot ash flowing out of the volcano. When the volcano erupts, you can see the bubbly, orange lava dripping down the side. You can see the black ash making people poorly. You can also see the cold, grey volcano shooting out red, orange, bubbly lava. You can just smell the volcanic ash. It is shooting itself out of the lava. As the pressure is released, the lava shoots out of the crater, continuously dripping down the edge of the volcano.
Example: 🌋 3
As Pacaya volcano erupts, you can see the coal, black ash blowing and flicking out of the volcano. You can smell the danger in the air. You can hear the bubbling lava coming towards you and you can feel the hot, burning lava flowing through the town. You can taste the fear running through you. The blistering sparks flick out of the crater of the volcano. As the oozing lava flows down the side, you may need to run. Be careful. Do not step on the beast coming to get you. As the pressure pushes and pushes, BOOM! 💥 the beast roars out of the crater on top.