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Creative Writing Week 2

Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 in poetry, Writing

We’ve continued along with our Creative Writing Class, lessons and materials provided by Ami at Walking by the Way, and just finished Week Two.

The girls continue to enjoy picking a quote for copywork.

“Do you want to hear the quote a picked?”


“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment. By Hart Crane.”

Exploring Sensory Details

Week Two centered around sensory details.

Ami’s lessons included reading through Owl Moon, a favorite at our house.  Since it’s already a well-loved book I almost looked for a substitute for the girls, something new and fresh.  I’m so glad I was running behind and grabbed Owl Moon instead, because we had never taken the time to go page by page, picking out the words and phrases that Yolen uses to draw the reader into the experience.  It was a rich lesson, and has made subsequent readings (because it’s now on the top of the 3 year old’s list) even more engaging.

We didn’t attempt to duplicate the sensory experience mentioned in Ami’s post (which included music and spray bottles and peppermint patties). I wish we would have done something similar, a hands-on full body and senses experience, after the reading of Owl Moon, before transitioning to the sensory chart.  Instead (because school with a 3 year old present is sometimes time-sensitive) we went right to describing an object.  It took more pulling and prodding to help them make the connection from the vibrant details of Owl Moon to filling out the sensory chart based on an object instead of an event.  If I repeat these lessons with my younger crew one day, I’ll set up something at my house, or have them recall a recent event (a snowy day, a roller coaster, etc) before moving onto objects.

I did help the girls by grabbing some questions from a similar assignment in The Writer’s Jungle to aid them in brainstorming for their sensory charts.  I particularly liked the questions that helped engage their memory.  In describing the peanut butter cups, the taste reminded one child of their brother’s chocolate peanut butter, banana and marshmallow sandwiches from his recent birthday.  It reminded the other of the peanut butter eggs they get at Christmas and Easter.  Both of these details enhanced their descriptions by making them more specific and personal.

Today they each wrote poems after creating a sensory chart for their objects.  Afterward I asked my 11 year old if she would have thought of all the descriptions related to each of the senses if she hadn’t been learning about it and using the chart and she said no, that it had definitely made her poem better.

The nine year old starts all of these assignments frustrated and then she ends up with a big smile on her face at the end, so that takes some Mama Wisdom to know whether to push, and in this case, I know she loves writing and that she needs the nudge to face a challenge.

Poems from Week 2

Here are their (unrevised or edited) poems based on observing chosen objects and recording descriptions for taste, touch, sound, smell, and sight.

(the 9 year old)
Easter Lillies

The breeze blows,
a quiet, sweet, papery voice whispers
“He is risen,
He is Risen.”


Silver moonbeams
curled into Spring.


(the 11 year old)

I open the cover,
but it’s not a cover.
It’s a door leading to a new world.

I rub the pages,
smoothed by all the other hands
that have touched them.
They make a sound
like a pleasant, fluttering wind.

I smell a dusty smell,
But a dusty smell full
of story.

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