Back to Writing Assignments

Sensory Details




Assignment: Sensory Details

What is the effective difference between these two sentences: “I spent the afternoon outdoors, reading quietly,” - “The fresh afternoon breeze and the delicate silence allowed me a serene reading environment.” In the first sentence, can you really get a sense of the afternoon I spent reading? You know that it happened, but not what it was like. The second sentence mentions a fresh breeze and a delicate silence that establish the serenity of the scene.

Sensory details are around us all the time, in every place we look, yet we often neglect them in our writing. This exercise will help you find sensory details in your daily life and ask you to use them in a short writing assignment. Have fun with it!

Part One: Gathering Details
  1. Open your refrigerator or pantry and select any item. Write down what it is.
  2. Write down at least four sensory details about the item. For example, how does it taste? Sweet, bland, salty? What is its texture? Crumbly, creamy?
  3. Open your closet or dresser (or whatever similar space you may have for your clothing and random items) and select any item. Write down what it is.
  4. Write down at least four sensory details about the item. Is it fluffy, scratchy, shiny, etc?
  5. Open your car (or your parent's car, or a friends car) and select any item. Write down what it is.
  6. Write down at least four sensory details about the item. Is it something sticky, wrinkled, polished, etc?

Part Two: Using Details

Choose one of the following options:
Option one – Picture your best friend or a family member. Write a description about this person using the details you collected from part one. It's okay if the description is more humorous than it is accurate. Your friend may come out with salty hair and fluffy eyebrows; be as silly as you please. Write at least two paragraphs describing this person.

or

Option two – Write a very short story or anecdote including the details you collected from part one. Be as nonsensical as you wish and as creative as you can. If your story takes place in a field of buttery wheat, or on a neatly ironed airplane, that is perfectly fine. Write at least a page of material for this story.



Rubric: Sensory Details


Teacher Name: Mr. Vickroy
Student Name:
CATEGORY
4
3
2
1
Organization
The story is very well organized. One idea or scene follows another in a logical sequence with clear transitions.
The story is pretty well organized. One idea or scene may seem out of place. Clear transitions are used.
The story is a little hard to follow. The transitions are sometimes not clear.
Ideas and scenes seem to be randomly arranged.
Requirements
All of the written requirements (# of paragraphs, # of details, etc.) were met.
Almost all (about 90%) the written requirements were met.
Most (about 75%) of the written requirements were met, but several were not.
Many requirements were not met.
Creativity
The story contains many creative details and/or descriptions that contribute to the reader's enjoyment. The author has really used his imagination.
The story contains a few creative details and/or descriptions that contribute to the reader's enjoyment. The author has used his imagination.
The story contains a few creative details and/or descriptions, but they distract from the story. The author has tried to use his imagination.
There is little evidence of creativity in the story. The author does not seem to have used much imagination.
Conventions
There are no writing convention errors in the final draft. Character and place names that the author invented are spelled consistently throughout.
There is one writing convention error in the final draft.
There are 2-3 writing convention errors in the final draft.
The final draft has more than 3 writing convention errors.
Sentence Fluency
Easy to read and understand. Ideas flow smoothly.
Sentences are understandable, but not smooth or graceful.
Sentence flaws make this paper hard to read and understand.
This paper is unintelligible.