Day 6: Description

  1. Do now: On page L4, titled “Description,” students wrote a description of a painting by Roosevelt, “Eight Huts in Haiti.” First, students wrote down the mood the painting evoked in them (calm, strained, placated). Next, everyone chose one person in the painting to “be.” Then, writing in first person singular, in present tense, they described the setting without using to be verbs or to have verbs. This exercise encouraged students to show the mood of the painting through word choice (in this case, verbs).
  2. Finding verbs. Next, students underlined each verb in their writing with a marker. They double-checked their work with a partner. Each verb should have been connected to the mood.
  3. Pass in Name Piece. We turned in this homework. I will be evaluating the name piece to see what kind of writing group to place each student in.
  4. Description notes. Students took the following notes under their Do Now on L4:
  • 1. imagery: description that uses the five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)
  • 2. diction: word choice; can be used to bring out a mood in the reader.
    • example:
      • The sun beats down on me. – upset mood
      • The sun washes over me. – carefree mood
  • 3. symbolism: the use of an object, place, situation, or color to stand in for something else, often an abstract idea or feeling.

5. Description in Memoir readings. Students chose a reading at their own level to explore how an author uses description. Choices included selections from Spalding Gray’s It’s a Slippery Slope (straightforward, about a mountain/school/geometry class), Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father (abstract, about solitude as a place/New York City), and Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood (very abstract, about exploring a wooded park). On their own, students color-coded the readings, looking for the terms we took notes on. Here is the worksheet: Description of Place (You must get copies of the readings from me).

HW: Due tomorrow – Description in the Summer Assignment