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I use an amazing  ‘program’ with my students called The Seven Steps to Writing Success.  Go here for more info.  If you get the chance to go to a seminar – I suggest you go!

I was working with my kids on ‘Tightening Tension’ and followed one of the suggested activities but of course added to it.  The activity was essentially getting students to think of words to detail an event using the 5 senses – the given example was an erupting volcano.



Hand out the senses sheet. Click here or on the picture for your copy.  I’m pretty sure I’ve used all public domain images.

ImageHave students close their eyes and imagine a volcano erupting.  Talk them through the senses, What would you see? Smoke etc… What would you hear etc.

Now get students to open eyes and fill in the sheet using interesting and emotive words as well as vivid verbs. They can use a thesaurus as well.

Share a few responses.

Handout the sheets again.

Have students close their eyes. Imagine being on the sinking Titanic. This time just say the 5 senses and let students think of their own words.

Now get students to open their eyes and fill in the sheet using the different senses about being on the sinking Titanic.

Share a few responses.

Students are to use their words to draw a detailed image of either the volcano or the titanic. This is kind of like a sketch to stretch – please go here (ReadWriteThink) to read more about this technique and a free printable. 

They have to include the ship or the volcano in the background – but what could be happening in the foreground?

We use posters to help us draw because suddenly being in junior secondary means you’re too cool to draw anything but a stick figure.  You can get your posters from here.  You would be surprised at how much kids will use the How to Draw a Person poster.

After this the students can then write a diary entry that starts with The tension was thick as…  Students could start with The tension was as thick as the smoke that belched from the mountain… or with The tension was thick with dread… I could go on really.

Share a few responses.

I’m going to get my kids to write their entries on this type of paper (this one is from Mary Sauer). Can you imagine how good a wall of their work is going to look?  Visitors are always impressed with that jazz.