It seems that no matter where you live, the county and state fair is a big hit.
I grew up in Indiana so our county fair took place in hot and humid July. Here in North Carolina, the state fair takes place in October which, weather wise, is a GREAT time of year.
Students had the day off from school a couple weeks before the state fair was set to start. I held a writing workshop that day and decided to have the students write a descriptive piece about the fair using the 5 senses.
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
NOTE: This lesson can address the following Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.3.D and W.5.3.D.
You can use this same lesson to describe any amusement part, local carnival or even a big family reunion.
NOW FOR THE LESSON!
To get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post. The lesson outlined below (and all other prompts posted) will make more sense and be easier to follow and use.
To help the kids get thinking about the state fair, show this short 1 minute video/commercial about the Oklahoma State Fair.
TELL THE STORY LINE:
Begin the lesson by telling the story line: “You are going to describe the state fair by writing about the things that you see, hear, smell, taste and feel there.”
BEGINNER OR STRUGGLING WRITERS
For beginner or struggling writers, explain that they are going to describe the fair by writing simple sentences such as:
I see ____. Or, I hear _____. etc.
Next, write these starter sentences on the board for them. When it’s time to write, they write the sample sentence and then fill in the blanks with phonetic spelling.
NOTE: Phonetic spelling means writing the sounds that they hear in the word. Correct spelling is NOT important in phonetic spelling. What’s important is that they are writing letters that represent the sounds that they hear. For example, I smell kotin cande equals “I smell cotton candy.”
OLDER AND ADVANCED WRITERS
For older and advanced writers, explain that they have to describe the fair by writing what they see, hear, smell, taste and feel, without using those five words.
In order to generate ideas, write the 5 senses on the board. With your students, brainstorm ideas for each. Here are a couple examples:
|Crowds of people||Music||Fried Food||Cotton Candy||People pushing|
|Rides||Screams||Barn Animals||Ice Cream||Hot weather|
Next, give a sample sentence for each sense.
|Crowds of people move through the pathways.||Music plays loudly from each ride.||The aroma of fried food fills the air.||Cotton candy is sweet on my tongue.||People push to be first in line.|
NOTE: I allow my students to use smell if necessary. Point out that the sentences start with nouns and not the word “I”.
SHOW THE 5 SECTIONS
Write the 5 sections on the board for the students to see:
As mentioned in my writing prompts introduction: K-1st Graders are encouraged to write 1 sentence for each section, 2nd Graders 2 sentences, 3rd Graders 3 sentences and so on.
NOW TO WRITE!
Guide the students through the following steps. They are free to use their own words as long as they follow the steps to keep their story organized. There are samples in italics for your own guidance.
- First, start off with an introductory statement that describes the fair in one word.
The fair is such a blast!
2. Second, write 2-5 sentences about things that people see.
The Ferris wheel moves around and around. People crowd the walkways.
3. Third, write 2-5 sentences about things that people hear.
Bumper cars crash into each other. People scream and laugh.
4. Fourth, write 2-5 sentences about things that people smell.
The stench of barnyard animals fill the air. The smell of grease and fried foods makes me hungry.
5. Fifth, write 2-5 sentences about things that people taste.
Sweet cotton candy melts on my tongue. Crispy elephant ears crunch between my teeth.
6. Sixth, write 2-4 sentences about things that people feel.
My stomach jumps to my throat going down the roller coaster. My head starts to spin on the merry-go-round.
7. Lastly, write a concluding sentence about the fair that states feelings or thoughts for the future.
I had so much fun at the fair this year. I can’t wait to go again next year!
DIRECTING STUDENTS’ ENTHUSIASM
Most of the kids LOVED talking about the fair! So, it was my job to help direct their enthusiasm to their writing.
After describing each sense, I asked them to wait. I typically discourage students from moving ahead. The reason being is, so often they get speedy and miss fun and important details that they later wish they would have included.
As a result, for almost any lesson, I describe a section, the students write, then wait. We move onto the next section, they write, then wait. That way they don’t rush ahead and finish too quickly, missing key details or sections to their writing.
You can learn more about how I teach each writing lesson in my post K-5 Students Write the Same Lesson at the Same Time–How Does it Work?
PRINT THE LESSON
Once students finish writing, they can complete their simple State Fair art accent. These easy art accents motivate young writers to write and reward them for their work. In addition, they add color and charm to any child’s story. Essentially, this state fair art accent can go along with any writing prompt or genre about the state fair.
LINED PAPER WITH A BORDER
In order to create space for the art accent, my students write on lined paper with a border.
For this lesson, I hung a few images that I had found on google to generate ideas for the children.
I also used marker to fill in the border with some of my own ideas (below). You can print these two samples here.
Below are examples of students’ work. It was so fun was to see the ideas that they came up with themselves!
NOTE: The last image with just the roller coaster tracks is mentioned in my markers post. This child was a prime example of why I add these art accents; to motivate and to reward!
Sentence Scramblers (#1 in our Top 5 Writing Games)
Spelling Vocabulary 4-11 Words: (#3 in our Top 5 Writing Games)
(using fair vocabulary)
More advanced writers can play: