Sense of Sight

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By Michelle Lynn Senters-

For the next several days, you will train your brain to think like a writer.

We use our five senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing) to gather information about the world around us. Most of the time, we gather this information without much thought.

For example, I might go outside and observe a bird sitting and squawking on my front porch. My mind thinks about it momentarily before I move on to other thoughts.

If I go outside and think like a writer, however, I observe the bird at a deeper level. I see that her feathers are puffed up and the way she quickly moves across the banister. I notice the urgency of her voice. I realize she is irritated with a squirrel that is climbing near her nest. My writer’s mind sees the larger story.

SENSE OF SIGHT

Today, we will focus on the sense of sight. To think like a writer, we must train our eyes and mind to observe closely. Use the following questions to help you.

LOOK

  • What do I see? (the subject- example: person, animal, bug)
  • What does it look like?
  • What is it doing?
  • Example: The bird is squawking on the front porch. 

LOOK CLOSER and ANALYZE 

  • What details do I notice?
  • Why is the subject doing that?
  • What is affecting the subject? (setting, other “characters”)
  • What is the subject thinking or feeling?
  • What might happen next?
  • Example: The bird’s feathers are fluffed. He is moving quickly across the bannister, moving his head up and down. A squirrel chirps back as it runs up a tree. The bird seems anxious and irritated. The squirrel hurries toward the nest. I think the bird might fly to the squirrel and scare it away. 

LOOK EVEN CLOSER and EVALUATE

  • What is the object’s story?
  • Why is this story significant to myself or others?
  • Example: The momma bird protects and cares for her young, just as I protect and care for my children. Our stories are similar in that way.

USE OBSERVATIONS TO NARRATE

  • What is the larger story?
  • How do I put it into words?
  • Example: (This is where it takes time. As a writer, I must allow my observations to grow into a larger story. I will work on this today, just like you. Check back later to see my paragraph/story in the comment section below.)

ACTIVITY

  1. Bring a notepad and pen to a location you choose. You can be inside or outside.
  2. Choose one animal, object, or person to observe. (examples: a cat playing with a toy, a bug crawling on the sidewalk, a leaf blowing in the wind, your brother playing video games)
  3. Observe, using the guideline above.
  4. Document your observations.
  5. Using your observations as a guideline, write a thoughtful paragraph about your animal, object, or person. Tell the larger story.

CHECK-IN and SHARE

Write your first name, age, and paragraph in the comment section below. Post your best work. Don’t forget to read and comment on other paragraphs posted.

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Michelle Lynn Senters is the Founder and Director of KIDS ARE WRITERS. She spends her days working as a Reading Interventionist and spends her evenings writing books for children and adults. You can learn more about Michelle HERE and at www.michellelynnsenters.com.

IMPORTANT: Students, NEVER reveal personal information while commenting. NO last names or contact information. I will delete any comments that contain personal information or comments that are inappropriate or off-topic.

4 thoughts on “Sense of Sight

  1. Erik, 12:
    At first glance, the pine tree appears still. But, if you look real hard, you can see the needles swaying the breeze. It is a comforting sight, One I will always enjoy. Some needles move individually, some as a whole. It matters not. They are all unique, like humans,

    • Beautiful writing, Erik. It reminds me of what a young Henry David Thoreau might write about. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” from Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

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