Building Mind Maps for Descriptive Writing

This week’s blog explores a recent Leap into Literacy class Building Mind Maps for Descriptive Writing and focuses on the modified class for our younger students in Years 1-2.

Mind Maps

Before we delve into the lesson, let’s remember what is so important about descriptive writing? When writers do a good job of describing a person, place or thing in their stories, they are able to help the readers create a visual image in their minds. Think of one of your favourite books or stories … what images come to mind when you think about it? How do you think those images got there? Without descriptive writing, it would be much harder for you to imagine (and remember!) these particular events.

Descriptive WritingWriting

In this class, students participated in activities that helped them to understand how descriptive writing is used to show the reader, by creating a visual image, rather than just telling them, what was happening in the story. They explored and noted down examples of a telling sentence (The dog was dirty) and a showing sentence (The dog has mud dripping down his fur).

Painting a Picture with Words and The Magic Treehouse

The children listened to the first few chapters of Dinosaurs Before Dark, the first book in the Magic Treehouse series of books by Mary Pope Osborn. They really enjoyed the story and were able to hear plenty of great examples of the author using descriptive details to help paint a picture for her audience.

To assist with comprehension in these younger students, the children were encouraged to draw what they were picturing in their minds as they listened to the story. Examples were given to the children of how the author gave details to the reader without directly saying so.  For instance, in the story Jack wears glasses, but the author merely shows us this fact by saying that “Jack pushed his glasses into place”.

The children then watched a scene from the Magic Treehouse stage play. It was discussed that when authors write books, they have to help their readers to picture things in their minds. However, when it is a movie or a play on the stage, the actors can create these images for us because we can see them. It was also explained that good descriptions from the book have helped them to put together the stage play for the audience.

Descriptive WritingDescriptive Writing Class

Creating descriptions of dinosaurs using a mind map

Next as a class we made a mind map about dinosaurs on the whiteboard using familiar descriptions and characteristics of dinosaurs (big tails, sharp teeth, spikes, horns and the like). Students willingly volunteered plenty of great examples and really enjoyed coming up with adjectives to describe aspects of the dinosaur. They then copied these mind maps into their notebooks.Mind MapMind Map

The students then used the mind map as a helpful tool to write a short story (or some additional sentences or words) about the topic “If I saw a dinosaur”.

Leap into Literacy provides small tutoring classes with a focus on reading comprehension and writing. Using techniques that allow students to become creative in the learning process, sessions are fun and achieve maximum results. Classes are held after-school in Drummoyne and other Inner West locations and are available for children in Years K-6. Contact us to find out how Leap into Literacy can help your child and follow us on Facebook for more tips and tricks.