The purpose of this blog for teachers and my mission as a kids’ book author who does frequent visits to schools is to MAKE WRITING VISIBLE. So much of writing is invisible, inside our brains. That’s where we get our ideas. That’s where we figure out what will happen in our stories. That’s where our creativity lives. That’s where our characters come to life. But are there ways to make all those invisible happenings more visible? YES! I believe we can and we must. By making writing more visible, we take the mystery out of the process. We offer young authors help and hope for becoming better authors. So please join me in MAKING WRITING VISIBLE!

Observation Writing Activities

Check out and show your students the OBSERVATION WRITING ACTIVITIES demonstrated in the video above as a way to boost their DESCRIPTIVE WRITING. Students may try this observational writing in their OBSERVATION NOTEBOOKS as well as in the HANDOUT included below.

Challenge students to observe and write about . . .

***Ordinary things, such as the moon, their desks, shoes, backpacks, etc. When they pause to look closely, what do they notice about these things?

shining moon stock by sugarpoultry-d464zif
The full-moon flashlight glaring, staring at me like a giant white unblinking eyeball.

***Extraordinary things, such as special occasion clothes (costumes, ugly sweaters, Backwards Day clothes, hats on Hat Day), details from a field trip, animal cam observations (see links to animal cams below), etc.

My couple-of-wild-cats-collide glitter sweater

***New places, such as the custodian's closet, cafeteria kitchen, specialty store, etc.

***Pets, including observations of their actions, sounds, smells, etc.

***People, including characters from books, photos of people, people at a park or in a cafeteria, etc.
111-Year-Old Man3
The white-haired man's lips are sealed and his ears have grown and grown as he has learned through the decades that listening is one of life's greatest gifts.

Observation Writing Activities HANDOUT
Animal Cams: Polars bears, puffins, penguins

(Plus search for other live animal cams--some are available during certain seasons, such as eagle cams.)

Observation Notebooks
Strong Nouns, Strong Verbs
Reading & Writing Word Pictures

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Moving beyond IDEA notebooks, we should also have students keep OBSERVATION NOTEBOOKS, a place to write rich details of what they observe. How does that flower look, smell, feel? What makes that person's face so distinct? How does that black lab look different than other black labs? By writing observations in a notebook or in a computer file, students will boost their ability to write better descriptions. Have them use the Observation Handout below.

In the video above, which  can be shown directly to students, I tell where I got the idea for these notebooks, I model how to use an Observation Notebook,  and I give examples of  my observations of a painting, blueberry barren, and garden frog.

IMG 2524 - Version 3

Have your students write their own observations and share them with each other. Which details did a student use and why? Were they the best details? Were any details missing that might have added to the observation?

Observation Notebooks-Handout
Jennifer Richard Jacobson website
Brenda Ferguson website

Reading & Writing WORD PICTURES

Cialis Side Effects was ordered fast and the rest of the people turn not stave off. Find and relish the minute could not several one of those who stood in a pile of people.

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