Setting the Scene

November 19, 2015

Today I had my fourth grade students stand outside on the playground and observe. I had them use their five senses to “set the scene”. Some ran and “tasted” the air, some scuffled across the blacktop, listening to their shoes scrape on the gravelly surface, and others stood and closed their eyes, listening to the world around them.

My goal of this was for them to observe what they saw and heard, felt and noticed, and then write it all down. As this was our first experience with this kind of activity, it was amazing to see how in to the activity the kids were. Once we started writing about what they saw with their five senses back in the classroom, the space where twenty kids sat was silent.

Kids pored over their Google Docs, and towards the end of their time, kept asking me to read their works aloud or check to see if they had used a strong vocabulary word correctly.

My students this year have really taught me a lot about life. Their excitement for the simplest things and their interest in the little items such as the Corpse Flower blooming, makes me look at the world through a new set of eyes.

After the students had written for twenty minutes I had a few share. In their elaborate writing, I could see the ideas churning in inspiration in all of the students’ heads. They were thrilled when I set them back to work to add more, having had inspiration from their classmates who had shared their writing.

Sometimes I think adults need a little inspiration. They need a little bit of encouragement, a small pulse of life elsewhere. Even if that means the inspiration comes from stepping outside and observing the world around them with a fresh set of eyes. Try using your five sense, and in our case, we can call them six senses: touch, taste, smell, see, hear, and feel.

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