Your Turn: Creating an Ice-cream Memory to Use Your Senses

Hook:  How many of you like ice-cream or sherbet?  Turn and talk with your partner about your favorite flavors. Let’s share with the whole group (Teacher records some on the board).

Brainstorm: (Prewrite) Make your own list in your writer’s notebook.  Students share in small group before you distribute your list. Take your favorite flavor and create word storm in your notebook (feelings, senses, thoughts, opinions, associations). You may use it later to write another notebook entry. Turn and talk with a partner.

Purpose: Today we are going to use ice-cream flavors to help us recall a vivid memory for our writer’s notebook.  The entry will probably be fairly short, maybe four to ten sentences.  You will probably use many writing strategies quite naturally such as appeal to the senses, color words, and vivid adjectives.

Model:   Teacher writes ice-cream memory on the board.

The light, tinkling music from the Good Humor truck as it rolls down Durham Street pulls the children from their houses like a powerful magnet.  Slap-slaps of screen doors are followed by the jingling of coins stuffed deep into shorts and jeans pockets as we dash for the street. Each child has a favorite.  Mine is the rocket with its creamy vanilla ice-cream swirled with chocolate.  I like to push up the ice-cream slowly so I can enjoy the cool taste on a hot August day for a long time.  My younger sister Sandy, with huge baby blues and ringlets of gold that jiggle as she jumps up and down in front of the truck window, always asks for an orange creamsicle and spatters the sidewalk with drops of sticky sweetness – a prize for the ants!

Guided Writing: Turn and talk about the memory.  What did you like about it?  Open your notebook and try to write an ice-cream memory. It may be helpful to have students brainstorm settings and write one sentence about each before deciding on the entry.  For example: Boardwalk – I sat on the hard, wooden bench and watched the waves rolling in and out, licking my creamy vanilla cone in rhythm with the waves.   I will walk around the room and peek at what you are doing (Roving conferences with clipboard).  After some time, have students share in small groups and in whole groups.  Copy some of their sentences on the overhead to include as “expert” samples.

Independent Practice:  Now try to write a notebook entry about a real ice-cream memory.  Think a moment, do a web or list to get started, refer to your word storm, settings, or just start writing. Remember, you are not writing an entire story!  Here is my example (Share on overhead or distribute your thoughts on a handout).  Give students time to write and share (even if only with a partner).

Reflection: Let’s look at my paragraph.  What writing strategies did I use?  Reflect on the strategies you seem to use naturally and automatically as a writer.  What are your “fingerprints”?

Write and Reflect Again:  If you would revise this entry, what is one thing you would absolutely do?  Try it out.  Perhaps rewrite your entry as a found poem in any format.  Compare entries.  Which do you like better?  Why?

Projection (Optional): Create a goal for yourself that will help your reader to visualize your words.

  • Try to appeal to a sense you don’t usually use – like smell, taste, or touch. 
  • Look at your adjectives.  Are they vivid and exact? 
  • Do you use color? 
  • Examine past portfolio entries to see how you have used the senses to create description.  Choose a piece for possible revision(s).
  • Find examples in your reading where authors appeal to the senses and copy them into your notebooks.  What strategy has an author used that you could try on for size?

Write and Reflect Again – A found poem.

I enjoyed writing the poem and found that I needed to add some Good Humor favorites to make the poem work. I am still considering ending with “spattering the sidewalk with sticky sweetness.” I think I will revise again after rereading several times aloud and maybe to a peer.

Light, tinkling music from the Good Humor truck

 rolling down my block of Durham Street in East Mt. Airy.

Like a powerful magnet, pulling children from their houses.

All at once, the slap-slaps of screen doors,  

then the jingling of coins stuffed deep into pockets

as we dash madly for the street to follow the music.

Each child has a favorite – sandwiches, toasted almond bar.

Mine, the Rocket, vanilla ice-cream swirled with chocolate. 

I like to push up the ice-cream slowly,

enjoying the cool taste on a hot August day.

My sister Sandy, with huge baby blues that sparkle,

her ringlets of gold jiggling as she jumps up and down

in front of the truck window in anticipation.

Always asking for an orange creamsicle,

She rips off the paper and begins licking,

spatterimg the sidewalk on the way home

with drops of sticky sweetness…

a prize for the ants!