Sample lesson plan for descriptive story writing using words-of-the-day and senses

Sample lesson plan for descriptive story (Some ‘jungle’ themed words of the day and descriptive story sheet on my Instagram highlights under the heading ‘jungle’. See teacher_julieanne.

Subject: English – Descriptive story writing          
Content Objective: The children should be enabled to create a descriptive story about the jungle
Learning Objectives: That the children should be enabled to…
1.  give definitions of their new words of the day
2. become familiar with the use of their senses in descriptive story writing
3. work cooperatively with others when creating sample senses sentences.
4. create an imaginary setting for their story. 
5. successfully plan a story set in a jungle.    
Language Development opportunities in this lesson:
Vocabulary pertaining to narrative/ descriptive writing New Words of the Day: Canopies, numerous, devour, predator, dense, lush, luxuriant, foliage, impenetrable, humid, disorientated, quagmire, immobilized, famished.
Inclusion of senses: What I might see, hear, smell, taste and feel in the jungle.
(Feel can refer to what you might physically feel or how you may feel emotionally)
Pupils and teacher can discuss these together. Keep a record of what the pupils say so they can use it when story writing. See sample jungle senses created by pupils in my 2nd, 3rd and 4th class at the end of the post.

Talk and discussion  
Teaching Methodologies: 
Talk and Discussion: listening, questioning, brainstorming, think, pair, share. Collaborative/Co-operative Learning: group work.
Skills Through Content: analyzing, synthesizing, describing, recording and communicating.
Problem Solving: apply logic and rationality to given situations
Introduction: Teacher explains to the children that using their knowledge of their recent Jungle themed Words of the Day and the Jungle vocabulary sheet they had discussed the previous week (see bottom of post), pupils will be creating a story based on a jungle adventure.  

Warm up games: Teacher will quiz the pupils on their knowledge of the Jungle Words of the Day that they have been learning for the past few weeks by holding up the various word of the day cards to elicit meaning for each.  

Teacher gives each group a vocabulary block (see post on tips for learning vocabulary), or foam dice with plastic pockets, which have a jungle word of the day on each face.The pupils can toss the block around the room, reading the word that is face up when they catch the block. They give the meaning of the word and put it into a sentence before tossing the block away.
Teacher will give a quick recall of previous lesson.

‘Last week I gave you each a jungle vocabulary sheet. You found and highlighted all your recent jungle themed words of the day. We spent the whole lesson talking about the jungle using the sheet.’

Questions:  Can anyone remember the two different jungles we discussed?
(The Amazon and the Congo River Basin in Africa)  

‘In geography we looked at a map of the world and identified these jungles and cities and places* nearby that we could use today for our story writing. We will use these as our settings today in our writing.’

*(Amazon Jungle America: Manaus City in Brazil lies on the banks of the Negro River in Southwestern Brazil. It is in the middle of the Amazon jungle. It has 2 million residents, airports, opera house, factories for rubber production etc.

African Jungle: The Congo River Basin, located in Central Africa, is the world’s second largest rain forest. The rain forests of the Congo River Basin are notoriously impenetrable and unpopulated. Adventure travellers who want to visit Africa’s rain forest can start their adventure in Cameroon and Gabon.)  

The teacher will read aloud extract from ‘Magic Treehouse, Afternoon on the Amazon’ by Mary Pope Osborne (or another jungle extract) Explain that an author has to have a clear theme in mind for their story. Discuss the setting.  

MODEL: As a class brainstorm the setting for the jungle. Encourage children to use their senses when describing. What might they see, hear, smell, taste and feel in the jungle. The teacher can point out that all this depends on whether pupil is describing the jungle as they see it for the first time or perhaps it is during the exciting/ problem part of their story when they are being chased by a wild animal!  

(See sample jungle senses which were created by my multigrade classroom of 8-10 year olds . The teacher types the senses sentences that the pupils create on the interactive whiteboard, so all pupils hear and see the sentences and it helps others create their own sentences.)  

ACTIVITY: Teacher gives the pupils the planning framework sheet (at bottom of post) for them to work on their setting. Children create their own jungle descriptive paragraph using their senses sentences, new words of the day and the use of their jungle vocabulary sheet.  
The class will use their planning framework sheet further to discuss possible titles, characters (why are you in the jungle?), problems you may encounter while in the jungle and conclusion (do you eventually get home safe?)

See Jungle planning framework sheet below to see possible questions you can ask   Pupils will finish their planning in another lesson, including creating characters using physical characteristic vocabulary and choosing good opening lines such as use of Phrase of the Day (see previous posts)
Teacher will place him/herself near x on commencement of pair activities to encourage him to participate and stay on task. Teacher will ask some of the exceptionally able students if they can read aloud samples of their writing to share ideas with the class.
Teacher will ask several groups to share the ideas that they listed until all ideas have been heard.  
NB Please note this lesson may continue into further lessons as pupils complete first and second drafts of their writing. Children may type their finished stories for display.
Jungle Words of the Day, Jungle vocabulary sheet.
Pupil log books for words of the day and phrases of the day.
Speaking and listening corner with displays of overused vocabulary, feeling vocabulary and physical characteristic and appearances vocabulary.
Planning framework templates for each pupil.
Integration: Geography, art.
Discuss the different jungles (link to geography)

Jungle vocabulary story sheet

Invite the pupils to highlight recent jungle themed words of the day. Spend one lesson on talk and discussion about the jungle using this sheet

Sample of Jungle vocabulary story sheet (Language for Living pubished by TTS)

Jungle planning framework for each pupil

Title ideas  
Introduce Character(s) Who are the characters in your story? Describe what they look like and what they are wearing! Describe their personality.      

Setting Where does your story take place? Why are you there – are you on holiday, an explorer, plane crash, lost, a biologist, following a tour guide, a scientist, camping out. Describe how you got to the jungle.         

Describe the jungle setting – use your senses – see, hear, smell, taste, feel    

Plot   Introduce the problem/ discovery: Do you encounter a problem – lack of food, no shelter, wild animals, lost in the jungle, plane crash, a deserted tour guide, sinking boat on the jungle river or do you make exciting discoveries, for example, find a new plant/ discover wonderful jungle creatures/ discover unexplored land / find hidden caves!  

The exciting part: Describe exactly what you can see, hear, feel, taste and smell on your adventure in the jungle. Describe your emotions!      

Conclusion/ Story ending Do you return home safely? Do you tell people about your discoveries? How would you describe your adventures?  


Create ‘senses’ sentences as a class for the jungle. You might have two different paragraphs in your story on senses. a senses paragraph on your setting in the jungle and later a senses paragraph about the exciting part /problem in your jungle story. Sample jungle senses for what you can see/ hear/ smell/ touch/ feel in the jungle are below…

Sample jungle senses…What I can see in the jungle:

  • As I strolled through the lush foliage I could see the sensational sky fill with the pinks and purples of the setting sun.
  • As I stumbled through the dense jungle I could see the gigantic scaly anaconda looking viciously at me as he slithered through the lush foliage
  • I could see the massive green anaconda tearing and devouring its prey.
  • As I climbed alongside the roaring waterfall I could see a herd of elephants crashing in the foaming waters.
  • As I struggled through the quagmire I became immobilized with fear as I could see an immense and hazardous jaguar stalking me through the lush leaves.
  • I could see the luxurious view from the top of the crashing waterfall.
  • As I stumbled under the umbrella of trees I noticed rock python slithering around an ebony tree.
  • As I stumbled through the dense and impenetrable jungle I caught a glimpse of the enormous harpy eagle circling around the cacao tree.
  • I saw a cute okapi stumble on its four legs coming towards me
  • As I hacked my way through the mangroves I saw a jaguar stare at me with her striking eyes, emerald green like the surrounding lush foliage.
  • As I dived into the sparkling clear water I caught a glimpse of a brown rock python slithering over the massive jagged rocks.
  • As I tumbled over the thick prop roots I noticed a harmless little chimpanzee in distress crying for his mother.
  • As the humid air pushed against my face, I wandered through the lush jungle and noticed a pinkish grey bushmaster snake slither towards me.

Sample jungle senses…what I can hear in the jungle:

  • I could hear the trickling of a small waterfall from a rocky slope
  • As I walked through the impenetrable jungle I could hear the petrifying yelping of a furious animal that was trapped nearby.
  • As I lay under my canopy of foliage I could hear the howler monkeys screech and scream.
  • I could hear a predator strolling in the bushes beside me and I was immobilised with fear.
  • As I crept through the thick foliage I could hear the thick leaves rustling together.
  • When I was wandering through the humid jungle I could hear a grey parrot screech as he hid harmlessly in the luxuriant dense trees.
  • As the sun slipped away through the trees the mischievous monkeys squealed and swung from the lush green vines
  • As I was hiding in the rubber tree I could hear a predator roar in the distance.
  • Ear bursting roaring from the bedraggled bear 
  • The powerful snorts of the wild pigs.
  • The aggressive roaring of the jungle tigers
  • Fierce hisses of the snake
  • Tireless howls of the howler monkeys
  • Uncontrollable howls of the spider monkey
  • The energetic monkeys on the trees
  • The savage howl of the leopard
  • The wild snore of the enormous gorilla
  • The loud squeak from the capybara
  • As the rain fell like pearls the piercing squawks of wild birds could be heard as they screeched and flew to their minute and leafy nests
  • The eerie caterwaul of the panther echoed through the immense jungle 
  • The affectionate whimper of the baby monkey nuzzling his mother
  • An aggrieve bay from the supercilious jaguar 
  • The savage snarl of the fierce ocelot
  • The malicious bay of the unstoppable tiger
  • The petrifying yelping of the uncontrollable cougar

What I can taste in the jungle

  • I could taste the sweat as I hid under the log of wood for protection as the jaguar crept past me. 
  • As I sunk my teeth into the luscious papaya an explosion of flavours filled my mouth.
  • As I scavenged for food I found a luscious mango tree whose fruit was mouth watering
  • I could taste the stagnant humid air as the night grew younger.
  • I could taste the soft fleshy fruit of the avocado from beneath the lush foliage of its tree.
  • As I was climbing up the spiky rocks I could taste the droplets of water from the crashing waterfall splash into my mouth.
  • I could taste the horrible caterpillar as it burst its vile flavour in my mouth
  • I could taste the flavours of the wild pigs meat as I hungrily tore chunks from its charred flesh
  • I climbed up a banana tree and tore the smooth green skin from its soft fruity flesh
  • I could taste the dirt rising from the dusty jungle track.
  • I could taste the coarse dust flow into my mouth as we zoomed in the jungle jeep along the dirt track
  • I tasted the raindrops on the edge of my tongue
  • I tasted the minute rain droplets fall like jewels and gather on the tip of my tongue
  • I could taste gruesome fleas hit my mouth

What I can smell in the jungle…

  • As I climbed the banana tree I could smell their delicious sweet aroma
  • As I drove into the jungle I could smell the lovely scent of lush leaves and foliage
  • I could smell the lovely scent of exotic flowers as they filled the humid air
  • I could smell the mouth-watering banana as the monkey was eating it.
  • As I jumped over the rocks, I could smell the mouth-watering mangos dangling from the exotic trees. 
  • As I scaled over the luxuriant trees I could smell the disgusting stench of the tapirs droppings
  •  I could smell the odour of foul dropping of wild animals
  • I could smell the rotting flesh of the wild pig.
  • Wafts of the rotten foliage filled the air above the swampy quagmire below
  • II was sweating so much in the humid jungle that I could smell my body odour.
  • As I was racing away from the fierce jaguar I could smell the sweat that was trickling down my spine.

What I can feel in the jungle…

  • As I woke up under the umbrella of trees I could feel insects crawling over my face.
  • I could feel the battering rain hit my head as I dashed to my car.
  • As I struggled through the quagmire of the aggressive crocodiles I felt frightened
  • As I struggled through the jungle I could feel the quagmire soggy mud filling up my shoes
  • I felt petrified as I crept past the aggressive pack of tapirs 
  • As I splashed the fresh water from the waterfall on the rocky slope onto my face I sighed and looked up at the rays of gleaming sunlight shining through the canopy of trees.
  • I felt alarmed as I saw the wild animals fighting
  • I could feel the heat from the ray of sunshine flowing though the leaves of the dense trees
  • As I felt the coarse baby panther’s fur he growled softly at me.
  • I felt parched and faint after falling from the bendy rubber tree and from being in the jungle humid heat for so long.
  • As I lay in the foliage I could feel the baboons playing with my hair.
  • I felt petrified as the large anaconda begin to wrap itself around my neck.
  • I could feel the battering rain hit my head as I sprinted to the cover of the canopies in the monsoon forest.
  • I could feel the tropical parrots’ wings brush against me as I wandered curiously through the jungle
  • As I foraged for food on the forest floor I could feel the softness of the shrubs.
  • I could feel the banana skins the cheeky orangatangs were throwing at me as I struggled through the dense forest floor.
  • As I woke up from my frightening night in the jungle I could feel the heavy weight of an animal on top of my legs and I was immobilised with fear.
  • I could feel the fur of the adorable baby chimpanzee as he snuggled against me.
  • I could feel the drops of water as I waded past the waterfall which shimmered in the blazing sun.

Sample extract from a jungle story written by an 8-year-old. (Unfortunately, no mention of pilot!)

I looked down from my private jet window at the sun melting into the grassy hills. Samsara, my dog, was in her cage at the back of the jet.

Suddenly, I heard a bang! With a roar, we descended rapidly and crashed.

We had crashed in the Amazon jungle. I crawled my way through the debris of the jet to rescue my dog.

I was still quivering from the crash. I stumbled through the lush foliage. I could see the sensational sky fill with the pinks and purples of the setting sun. It was a lovely place but I was frightened.

I trudged under the canopies of foliage. I could hear the howler monkeys screech and scream. The humid air hit my face as I nervously sat under numerous canopies to sink my teeth into a luscious papaya…

Beautiful descriptive ‘Jungle’ extract from the novel ‘The Lost World’ to read to your pupils.

And then, under this high-pitched, ringing sound there was another, more intermittent, a low, deep-chested laugh, a growling, throaty gurgle of merriment which formed a grotesque accompaniment to the shriek with which it was blended.

For three or four minutes on end the fearsome duet continued, while all the foliage rustled with the rising of startled birds. Then it shut off as suddenly as it began. For a long time we sat in horrified silence. Then Lord John threw a bundle of twigs upon the fire, and their red glare lit up the intent faces of my companions and flickered over the great boughs above our heads

Still half-awake, and unable to imagine what it all might mean, I found myself hurrying madly after him through the wood, a rifle under each arm and a pile of various stores in my hands. He dodged in and out through the thickest of the scrub until he came to a dense clump of brush-wood. Into this he rushed, regardless of thorns, and threw himself into the heart of it, pulling me down by his side

I had the same feeling of mystery and danger around us. In the gloom of the trees there seemed a constant menace and as we looked up into their shadowy foliage vague terrors crept into one’s heart. It is true that these The Lost World 189 of 353 monstrous creatures which we had seen were lumbering, inoffensive brutes which were unlikely to hurt anyone, but in this world of wonders what other survivals might there not be—what fierce, active horrors ready to pounce upon us from their lair among the rocks or brushwood

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