D is for Description

| April 29, 2014

In teaching writing, we as teachers find ourselves repeating the same adages over and over, such as “Show don’t tell” when a student is describing key characters, scenes, etc. in a piece of writing. I often write out the five senses to get students thinking of multiple ways of describing. There is a fantastic book called The Describer’s Dictionary (http://www.amazon.com/The-Describers-Dictionary-Treasury-Quotations/dp/0393312658) which lifts memorably descriptive passages from various novels and also catalogues descriptive vocabulary such as the numerous words for colors, tastes, smells, textures, even all the ¬†array of words for flocks of birds. In a classroom at the Lab School, a teacher posted several quotes on he subject of writing all over the walls of her classroom. One of them was this Chekhov quote worth pointing to when reminding a student to “Show don’t tell.”