Saturday, August 8, 2015

Using Summer Beach Art to Write a Descriptive Paragraph

My family is a little different from most in that I homeschool my 8 year old while my nine year old attends public school.  The oldest is almost 22 and attends college!  That also makes our family a little unique because of the huge age gap between the younger boys and the oldest, but that is a story {maybe} for another day!   :-)

In any case, I like to school year round.  It gets interesting with one boy having "to do school" while the other does not.  I have "required"  "summer school" activities for both of them to prevent the summer slide and do my best all year round to make learning fun, active, and student-centered.  

The 8 year old has a great affinity for arts and crafts.  Knowing that one of our favorite places is the beach, when I found this "beach art" tutorial, I knew it would be perfect for him.  I found it on Introducing the Hodgepodge's blog.  Click here to see the post/tutorial.  My son was even more excited to learn that this project used pastel chalks, which, by the way, required a trip to the craft store where we snagged a large pack for $5!

Now, before we started, I knew that I would integrate this art lesson with writing and science (we are studying the beaches of North Carolina and learning about oceans in our science text). But, I didn't tell my little artists at the beginning about the writing.  They are both reluctant writers, and I wanted them to enjoy the art lesson.

After about an hour or so, we finished our masterpieces.  Mine is in the middle.  I didn't leave enough room on the beach to add umbrellas or anything else for that matter, but it reflects my preference for remote beaches.  Even though we read and looked at the pictures in the tutorial for the lesson together, it is really neat how we all created a different beach scene.
My nine year old included many details in his drawing:

We completed these on a Friday.  On Monday, I introduced the descriptive writing paragraph and told my nine year old that he didn't have to do this since he had other summer school things he could do.  After I showed him my paragraph and did a short lesson, he decided to dive right in.  His younger brother was not so thrilled; writing and spelling don't come as easily to him as it does to his two older brothers.  But no worries!  I came into this lesson prepared.

Both the boys had previously learned how to write a paragraph but needed a little extra help and a refresher.  The writing purpose was to describe the beach art drawing.  I told them that I wanted them to give so much detail that the reader would be able to picture in their mind the drawing without ever seeing it.  I shared the above picture to both boys and emphasized that I knew they could do it even though it would stretch their brain and require them to work hard.

I shared my paragraph with them as a model, but told them that their writing would be different from mine just like our drawings are all different.  We reviewed adjectives (which they both have a solid understanding of)  and they identified my adjectives, and then they wrote adjectives on their white boards that described their drawings. I talked about how their writing should include what the beach, ocean, and sky looked like, smelled like, what it sounded like, what it felt like, and tasted like.

Then, I shared this "paragraph skeleton" graphic organizer that I created to provide a visual of the different components of a paragraph.

I also shared "Paragraph Pal" to help them visualize the different components of a paragraph~

Then they got to work on completing their graphic organizers. Later, they used the organizer to write their paragraphs.

The simile my 9 year old used ("...golden sand [looked] like Midas touched the sand")  He had an excellent teacher this year, and I am so grateful for her!

My little writer followed the organizer to generate ideas and details that supported the topic sentence.  We need to work on sentence structure and indentation. He took a risk by using quotation marks; we will do a mini-lesson on quotation usage.

The last part was to display our work in the playroom/homeschool room.  My 8 year old did not want his writing to be photographed, and so I respected his request.

Next, we may write a story about our beach art.  After we had all the pictures placed on the wall together, the boys talked about how maybe this one long stretch of beach and these three pictures represent 3 different parts of the same beach.  Hmm...  I'm thinking of the three of us writing a story together!

If you would like to use the graphic organizers and the Paragraph Pal, you can click the picture below to download a copy from my TpT store for FREE.  It's just a little packet that includes some of the pages I used.

I hope you can use the printables.  Let me know how you plan to use them!

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you!! Saved my day!! Had to do a last minute lesson and this helped so much!!


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