Writing from Experience: Hot Chocolate

The perfect writing assignment for my kid?  Writing about hot chocolate!

The task?  Investigate an object (in this case, his hot chocolate) with all of his senses (sight, touch, smell, sound, and, his favorite, taste), and write down everything observed.  The purpose?  The goal is to help develop his observation skills and improve his descriptive writing.

So, after our weekly hike with friends, we headed to Starbucks to write…

Here’s what he wrote….

“The whipped cream is cloud white in the center.  As it spirals out, the whipped cream becomes fainter.  In between the spirals, there are light brown bubbles.  It smells sweet and chocolatey.  The scent is of Christmas and cold winter mornings.  When I lick it, on my tongue, it feels bubbly.  When I take a sip of the drink, it is so hot it burned my tongue.  Holding the paper cup feels warm and comfortable.  Now the whipped cream has melted, and it is the color of creamy coffee.  The swirls have turned into blobs.  It tastes like creamy milk chocolate.  After I swallow, my mouth feels tingly and chocolaty.  I want more after one sip.  I want to savor it.  The drink is making me warmer, and I feel happy.  Steam is rising from the cup.  As the drink cools, I can drink it faster, gulping instead of sipping.  My last sips are more like dark chocolate and more bitter.  As the hot chocolate hits my bloodstream, I feel more awake.  My drink was scrumptious and left me feeling happy.”

My son loved this assignment.  We’ve done other “keen observation” writing before, with one of my husband’s guitars and with a piece of fruit.  Those assignments, though educational, didn’t catch his interest, but he really got into this one.  Hot chocolate for the win!

This assignment, “Keen Observation”, is from Brave Writer‘s The Writer’s Jungle.  The author, Julie Bogart, provides lots of questions for each scent to help develop the child’s writing.  Some examples?  For sight, “Does the lighting effect the color?”  “Are there streaks or lines or smudges in the patches of color?”  For smell, “What feelings does it conjure?”  “Does the scent provoke a memory?”  Just asking my son to write from his senses wouldn’t have been enough.  Asking him these questions to help him experience his senses more deeply made this assignment much more valuable.

Check out these other fantastic resources about teaching your child to write:

 

 

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