Writing a Description with Beanie Babies

I really enjoy teaching writing a description to my second graders! I make it highly engaging with Secret Snacks, Beanie babies, and technology!
writing a description with beanie babies
As a team, we start with each class choosing a “mystery” snack.  I do a whole mini-lesson about using our senses to write a description.  Then, they get their paper with the graphic organizer, a snack, and go back to their seats to write.  Of course, they also get to eat their snack!  The next step is to come back together to write a detailed description of the snack that we shared.  After we have our description written, we then share with the other classes and figure out what they had as well.  Talk about engaging!  The kiddos love it and they love keeping our snack a secret until it is all done!
*Can you guess what we ate?
The next day we talk again about what goes into a good description, then I tell them that they are going to get a secret beanie baby to write about!  They love hiding their beanie baby.  I give them another piece of paper with the graphic organizer and a beanie baby.  I tell them if someone sees that it is okay because when I read their descriptions I won’t say who wrote them.  They go and write their first drafts!
At the end of Writer’s Workshop I collect all of their rough drafts.
During our next Writer’s Workshop I line up all of the beanie babies and we talk about them all. Then, I start reading all of their descriptions.  As you can guess we have a few that we can’t figure out from the description.  So, we talk about them all again and I add somethings to the whiteboard to help them write better descriptions.
They get together with their partner and they revise their first drafts to make them better.  I collect them again, and then I am the editor.  I make mark their papers with the mistakes that they need to fix.
Now, for the publishing stage of their descriptions we use SeeSaw.  If you have not heard of SeeSaw yet, you really need to check it out.  It is a free, easy to use, on-line digital learning portfolio.  It is kind of like a classroom Facebook feed.  My kiddos are NUTS about it!  (I am not affiliated with them in any way, we just LOVE using it!)
So, for the publishing part of this project the kiddos work with their partners to check out the corrections that they need to make on their papers.  Then, they are instructed to go into SeeSaw, take a picture of their beanie baby, then use the caption function to type their description.  Before they can submit it, they have to have their partner check their post for any mistakes and fix them.  The greatest part about SeeSaw is that nothing gets publicly posted until I approve it!       
I got some great descriptions from my kiddos!  They were highly motivated and engaged throughout the whole week!  They did a great job!
Monday we will be going through each other’s posts and making comments and asking questions.  They really enjoy reading what their friends comment.  Their comments cannot be seen until the teacher approves them, so they know that only positive comments will be posted.  Authentic audience?  Check!
If you are interested in the Descriptive Writing paper that we used, you can find it HERE as part of a pack of writing paper with different built in Graphic Organizers!
Pin the image below!
writing a description with beanie babies
*By the way, if you guessed Oreos you are correct!  Good for you!  🙂
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