Definition of Detail and Development

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Object Lesson

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The purpose of this exercise is to give students practice working w ith details and similes as well as reinforcing the ideas for focus and development to reach an audience. You'll need enough good objects to have one object per group and an opaque bag. A few of the objects should have similar characteristics, such as a knife and scissors. Each group will get a bag with an object in it they will have to describe so that the other group can guess what object they chose when they share their descriptions.

Setup for Object Lesson

Have your class divide into groups of four. One group member should take an object from the grab bag going around. Tell them NOT to show this object to the other groups! Then s/he should place the object where each group member can see it. Each member should then write a paragraph describing the object. Tell them NOT to name the object if they know what it is. They should use as much detail as possible in the description, including sensory detail regarding size, shape, color, weight, materials, etc. They may want to make comparisons in their descriptions, such as "It's the size of a _________, or the shape of a _________).

Collect the objects when they are finished, noting for yourself which group had what object.

Each group member should then exchange his/her paper with someone in the next group. Everyone must then draw the object based on the description they've been given.

After they have completed their drawings, pass back the objects to the groups. Have them compare their drawings with the objects themselves. Discuss the descriptions. Which ones produced more "accurate" drawings and why? Where was there good detail? What would have made for better descriptions?

Time Saving Tip

To save time, instead of having them compare their papers, collect them. Line up the objects on your desk. Then read a few of the papers and have them guess which object it is describing.