Descriptive Paragraph Writing

Students’ Learning Outcomes

·         Analyze written texts to use in their own writing, features of simple descriptive composition about people, objects and places:
o   Physical description and personality traits (habits, etc.) of a person, moving from general to specific.
o   Physical description and characteristics of an object or place moving from general to specific.
o   Correct form of verb.
o   Details in appropriate order.

Information for Teacher

·         A distinct section of a piece of writing, commonly dealing with a single subject and designated by a new line, indentation, or numbering.
·         There are four types of paragraphs that you need to know about: descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive.
·         Descriptive writing describes an object, place, or person in a way that creates a vivid impression in the reader’s mind, assisting the reader to envision what is being described, and to feel that he/she is very much part of the writer’s experience.
·         Describes how something or someone looks or feels.
·         Creates sensory image on the reader’s mind.
·         Descriptive writing is characterized by the following:
o   Elaborate use of sensory details (often those that others might overlook) that enrich or define the central impression.
o   Details which go beyond the general, e.g. the house was big and nice;
o   Details which enable the reader to picture or relive what the writer is telling, e.g. the huge brick structure spread-eagled across a quarter acre of ground. And rose more than sixty feet into the air.
o   Descriptive writing appears almost everywhere, from cookbooks to poems.
o   A writer might use a description to introduce a character in a narrative or to create a strong closing to a persuasive easy.
o   Whatever the form, its purpose is to describe, no matter how the description is used, the subsequent strategies for good descriptive writing will help.
o   Students should include plenty of details;
o   Use figurative language, if appropriate
o   Organize details
o   Show not tell
o   Use precise language

Concept Map

Material / Resources

Chart paper, worksheet, marker/chalk, and board, textbook

Worm up activity

Explain the students what the descriptive writing is.
o   The primary purpose of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place or thing in such a way that a picture is formed in the reader’s mind.
o   It doesn’t tell the reader that the flower is beautiful; it shows them the flower is beautiful.
o   The reader feels like he/she is a part of the writer’s experience of the subject.
o   Descriptive writing is used in all modes of writing (expository, Narrative and persuasive) to create.
o   A vivid and lasting impression of the person, place or thing.
            Examples of Descriptive Writing:
o   Stories
o   Poems
o   Essays
o   Reports
           Cue Prompts for Descriptive Writing:
o   Some prompts that teachers may use when they want a descriptive piece of writing are:
1.       Describe a place, a person or event.
2.       Tell about a place, a person or event.
3.       Relate what happened at an event.


Activity 1

·         Think of a famous person and describe him/her.
·         Ask the students to close their eyes and think of a famous person (international/national; heroes, politicians, sportsmen, film stars/actor/actresses.
·         Tell them to think of what the person looks like? What is he/she famous for? Why are you impressed by him/her?
·         Ask them to open their eyes and describe the person to their partner, who will guess the person by listening to the description.

Activity 2

·         (Expanding notes) organize a descriptive essay using notes.
Explanation of the Activity:
·         Write the following descriptions/features on the board/chart or prepare a poster with these descriptions/features or use a picture.
(Tall, slim, long curly black hair, round face, blue eyes, long nose, black dress)
·         Ask students to expand these notes into a description e.g.
(The woman is tall and slim with long curly black hair. She has a round face, blue eyes and a long nose. She is wearing a black dress)

Activity 3

·         (Shared Writing) (As explained in paragraph writing)
Explanation of the Activity:
·         Teacher displays a picture/poster and writes the topic sentence on the board.
·         Students provide subsequent sentences to complete the descriptive paragraph.
(Note: students must use features of descriptive writing when making sentences)
 Q1. What is the picture/poster to be described?
Q2. What are the function, use and or purpose of this object/picture/poster? (Who uses it? When? Where)
Q3.What is the physical characteristics of this object? Size/shape/weight/material
Q4. How does this picture affect you?

Sum up / Conclusion

·         Conclude the lesson by repeating all the main points of the lesson.


·         Divide the class in groups of 4-5 students.
·         Give one picture (a person or a scene- taken from a magazine or newspaper) per group.
·         Students will describe the picture using at least 8-10 appropriate adjectives and adverbs in a organized paragraph.
·         Think of an instance/situation that you want to describe.
1.       Why is this particular instance/situation important?
2.       Were you involved in it?
3.       What other things were happens around you?
4.       What sights, smells, sound and tastes were in the air?
5.       What did you feel at that time?
6.       Can you think of another situation that was similar to the one you are writing about?

Follow up

·         Students can be asked to describe a scene or an object orally to the class.
·         Divide worksheets into five columns. Each column is labeled with one of the five senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste)


·         Pick an object and have students write descriptive words in each of the five sections.
·         Remind them that they may not actually taste anything without permission!
·         Each student should write at least three words under each sense.
Example: Object is salt
Looks like: white, powdery, shiny
Feels like: grainy, soft, slips through my fingers
Tastes like: bitter, salty, bad
Sounds like: quiet, rustle, silent
Smells like: Odorless, mildly bitter
1.       Ice- cream
2.       Flower
3.       Water
4.       Sugar
5.       Any vegetable

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