Knots in My Yo-Yo String By: Jerry Spinelli with a focus on pronouns and sensory details
What are sensory details? • They use the five senses. • They show how something or someone looks, sounds, smells, tastes, or feels.
Why are they important? • Writing that has a lot of sensory detail is much more interesting to read! • Is this interesting? Paragraph A I like to go to the beach. There is a lot of sand and some trees there. People play games on the beach, and some people like to swim. I used to go to the beach very often in my country.
from "The Beautiful Beach" by Mora Siregar Paragraph B I remember one time in particular that I went to the beach with my friends. First, I looked for good place when I arrived at the beach, because it would be very crowded on weekends or holidays. I selected a cool place under the trees and extended a mat on the white sand. The wind that blew through the trees softly made the weather cool and pleasant. Peace came into my heart when I looked at the very beautiful long, white sand. People played games on the beach; for instance they played volleyball. Some of them swam in the shallow sea. There were some kids trying to make something in the sand, and then trying to break it. Everybody looked happy at that time.
Sensory Detail: Sound • Using onomatopoeias is a wonderful way to incorporate sound into writing. • Think about this: • Metal can clang, tinkle, bong, clunk, rattle, or crinkle, depending on the size, shape, and what’s happening to it. • Objects falling into water can splash or plop. Waves can crash or lap the shore. • Adding unique and descriptive adjectives to those sound words really allows you to sense it. • Example: The only sound was his grandmother’s labored breathing and the mournful creak of the wooden stairs.
Some sound words bellow blare buzz cackle cheer clamor clang crackle creak grumble gurgle hiss howl hush jabber mumble murmur mutter rant rave roar rumble rustle screech shriek shrill sizzle snarl squawk squeal swish thud thump whimper yelp
Guided Practice: Sound • In your groups, listen to your sound. Create a sentence using the sound as the foundation for your sentence. • You want the audience to be able to “hear” the mood. Remember: Using sound words is a great way to accomplish this.*Be prepared to share!* 1. 3. 2. 4.
Sensory Detail: Smell • Scents tend to stick in our minds for years and years. • Adding sensory detail in the area of smell can immediately pull a reader into a scene or help bring a character to life. • Smells can create a warm, cozy environment (bread baking, smoke from a fireplace, cinnamon cider, etc.) or one you’d want to run from (the smell of a hobo or an inner city alley). • Using the sense of smell is a great way to evoke the specific emotion you want to elicit from your reader.
Chattanooga Example “For anyone who drives downtown on Riverfront Parkway and says they can’t smell that dreadful stench in the air, you are in serious denial. It honestly smells like death and sewage for the majority of the day, every day. You don’t really smell it near as much on Market Street, but from Riverfront going towards Broad, it is rancid. The city of Chattanooga should take action promptly to remedy its own putrid scent in the downtown area.” Mark Johnson Thursday, August 04, 2011 (A response to automobile columnist Jamie Kitman's visit to the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga that revealed the city's secret shame: it smells terrible.)
Some smell words acrid ambrosial aroma aromatic fetid fragrant malodorous mephitic moldy musty odiferous odor odorless perfumed pungent putrid rancid rank redolent reeking scent scented smell spicy sweet waft whiff
Guided Practice: Smell • In your groups, smell the contents of your containers and attempt to identify them by describing how they smell. • Write your descriptions as sentences in your notes. *Be prepared to share!*
Sensory Detail: Taste • Taste is one of those things that engraves itself into our memory. • For this sensory detail, you definitely need to think beyond the obvious food and drink tastes. • Examples: The air near a beach can taste salty. Falling on a football field may cause you to taste the grimy soil. • Taste and smell go hand in hand. • Sometimes, you can offer a sensory detail for taste simply by describing how something smells then mentioning how that smell effects the sense of taste. • Example: Chocolate Chip Cookies: The smell alone makes your mouth water thinking about the gooey chocolate melting on your tongue. (It didn’t specifically talk about taste but implied it through smell and texture.)
Some taste words appetizing bitter bland creamy delectable delicious flavorful flavorless gingery luscious nauseating palatable peppery piquant refreshing ripe rotten salty savory scrumptious sharp sour spicy spoiled stale sugary sweet tangy tasteless tasty unappetizing unripe vinegary yummy zesty
Guided Practice: Taste • You will be given various foods for a taste-testing activity. • You must create sentences describing the foods using the sensory detail taste • Write the sentences in your notes. • Do this without actually naming the food within the sentence. *Be prepared to share!*
Sensory Detail: Touch • Being able to describe how something feels adds an extra dimension to the story. • Example: He ran his hands through the cat’s silky mane. • Use similes and metaphors to compare the object you want your reader to experience to something that will trigger an immediate response. • Examples: The rain felt like icicles piercing my skin. The rain is icicles piercing my skin.
Some touch words balmy biting bristly bumpy chilly coarse cold cool crawly creepy cuddly dusty feathery feverish fluffy furry fuzzy gooey greasy gritty hairy hot icy limp lumpy moist oily powdery prickly scratchy silky slimy slippery spongy springy squashy sticky sweaty velvety
Guided Practice: Touch • You will touch various objects of different textures. • You attempt to identify them by creating sentences describing how they feel using the sensory detail touch. • Write these sentences in your notes. *Be prepared to share!*
Sensory Detail: Sight • This is perhaps the easiest sense to use. • One great way to add sight sensory detail is by describing colors, especially specific color hues. Ex: tomato red • Use metaphors or similes. • Describe objects using shapes, patterns, or the flow of lines. • Think specifically when describing things you can see. (It’s much easier to picture a skinny, gray and black-striped kitten than a cat.) • Describing the brightness or darkness of a setting will change the entire mood. Examples: The sun glared in my eyes through the half-open blinds. The air was dark here, seemingly condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest town on earth.
Some sight words bleary blurred brilliant colorless dazzling dim dingy faded faint flashy gaudy gleaming glimpse glistening glittering gloomy glossy glowing grimy hazy indistinct misty peer radiant shadowy shimmering shiny smudged sparkling streaked striped tarnished twinkling
Guided Practice: Sight • You will view various images. • You will create sentences describing them using the sensory detail sight. • Write these sentences in your notes. *Be prepared to share!*