Bring Language Learning to Life with All Five Senses

Bring Language Learning to Life
with All Five Senses
Rebecca Dechert
FCSD #25
[email protected]
Using sensory input:
Is more authentic
Activates multiple areas of brain
Supports vocabulary acquisition
Improves retention
Improves attention
Is more fun!
Grab Bag
Introduce new schema
Use as anticipatory set
Use as springboard into writing/discussion topic
Defend a hypothesis
Use descriptive words
Conclude lesson/story
Smelly Writing
• The human sense of smell evokes the most
powerful memories, so use it in the classroom
to create powerful descriptive writing. Use
sprays or candles to create an aroma in the
room and then ask students to free/quick
write describing the scene (not the smell).
Students can then work in groups to describe
how the scent makes them feel or what
holiday the scent remind them of.
Grouping Activities
• Sorting activities allows students to manipulate real objects, words,
phrases, or sentences into their own parameters or those set by the
teacher. They can be completed as individual, partner, or group activities.
Students can report their work using cards, bags, boxes, graphic
organizers, butcher paper, photographs, or sticky notes.
• Sentences by type (simple, compound, complex, compound-complex)
• Words by type
• Animal pictures by classification
• Numbers by odd or even
• Pictures by initial sound
Sound Track
Play music from a sound track that your students are familiar with.
Ask students what’s happening in the movie while this music is playing.
Ask them how the music makes that scene more memorable.
Now explain that each student will create a scene for a movie using music you’ve
Play three songs, each unique and different styles from each other. Play each
song once while students just close their eyes and imagine what might be
happening. Then, ask the students to open their eyes and quick write what
they’ve imagined while the music plays again.
Each student will pick one scene to narrate, focusing on telling a story rather
than describing a scene. Focus writing should be on using powerful verbs to
convey the action of their story. Younger students can write very short stories
and then illustrate.
Walk In
Show students a picture and ask them if they’d like to just walk into that scene.
Ask them to use their imagination, walk into the scene, and describe what they
see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. Maybe it’s a picture of a beach on a cold winter
morning or skiing scene on a hot August afternoon. After a discussion, tell the
students that they’ll be walking into three pictures.
Find three different pictures with a lot going on in terms of the five senses. Find
pictures that will appeal to different interests such as sports, nature, and
adventure, depending on age of students.
Display the pictures one at a time, giving the students 5-15 minutes to use their
imagination to walk in and discover what’s going on. You might want to create a
chart for your students with all five senses listed and five spaces for each to list
their thoughts.
After you’re finished with all three pictures, ask the students to pick one that
appeals to them the most and write a descriptive paper, focusing on descriptive
words that show instead of tell (Toddlers screamed with delight as the corn
popped over the crackling fire.).

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