MINILESSON: Writing Workshop—Sensory Details

Objective: Students will recognize sensory details, practice writing them, and identify and add more sensory details into their writing to better communicate with their readers.

White board markers
Arrange desks in groups
Write “Sensory Details” on white board.


2 min

Introduction: How many senses do we have? I want everyone to show me by holding up the right number of fingers. What are they? (Write on the board: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching.)

Explanation: We learn everything we knew through these 5 senses. When we read a textbook, we’re seeing words; when we learn what kind of food we like, we’re tasting.

7 min

Activity: I want everyone to open their writing logs to a blank page, and head it “Sensory Details.” While you’re doing that, I’m going to come around and give each group one lemon. I want you each to study your lemon. How does it feel? What does it look like? How does it smell? Write down as descriptive of ideas as you can. Think of how your lemon looks different than other lemons you’ve seen. In 5 minutes I’m going to come and take your lemons away, and tomorrow I will ask you to pick your lemon out of the bunch and tell me why that one is yours.

3 min

Share: As I collect your lemons, I want one person in each group to share one important detail about their lemon with the class.

1 min

Conclusion: Because these are the only ways we can learn, it is important to use vivid sensory details in our writing, so that we can teach our reading what our characters look like and sound like, or what the setting feels like.


Follow up: Today during writing workshop, read the first page of your story, and add at least two sensory details to your story. If you’ve already written sensory details, underline or highlight them, and add more. Remember, the reader doesn’t know the characters or the setting, so think about what you could write for the reader so that they will be able to better understand your story. If you finish with the first page, continue on.

Student evaluation
: I will walk around during writing workshop and have students show me their examples and answer questions