Take five: Rolland-Warner students use five senses in creative writing

Vic, an eighth grader at Rolland-Warner, reads from his notes during a "sensory walk" on Wednesday afternoon. The exercise teaches students how to hone their sensory writing skills. Mr. Sweeney, right, wants his students to incorporate sensory language into their memoirs.

Mr. Sweeney’s eighth grade English class sprawled out on the lawn at Rolland-Warner Middle School on Wednesday afternoon, armed with notepads, pencils and all five senses. The students were instructed to focus all their attention on the world around them and to translate their experience into words.

The lesson was specifically aimed at teaching students how to incorporate sensory language into the memoirs each student is to author. It’s a skill that all great writers possess; it’s the ability to bring the reader into the moment.

Here’s an example from Megan, a modest writer whose friend volunteered to read her work in front of the class:

The damp earth fills my nostrils with its intense smell. The cloudy, gray sky covers the warmth from the sun, making me shiver. A gusty wind bites at my bare arms and legs. My hair is being thrown about. The bright yeloow leaves are in contrast to their bleak surroundings. Dead brown leaves surround me on the wet ground. Cut grass sticks to my ankles.

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