Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reading Strategy ~ Creating Images From All Senses

One of the reading strategies that our district asks us to teach is “Creating Images From All Senses.”  We have been talking about senses a lot this year.  We use our senses to DESCRIBE objects as we talk about properties in science, and we use our senses to learn about the world around us.

When talking about using senses as a reading strategy, students learned that just like we use use our senses to learn about the world around us, we can use our senses to understand what is happening in a story.

Ms. S, the ESL teacher, and I collaborated to find the best ways to help students practice using their senses.  Ms. S. is a baker.  She loves to bake bread, and she has talked about it many times when she has been working with us.  We decided that helping Ms. S. bake some bread would be a great way to practice using our senses – and students would gain experience making something most of them do not make at home.

100_4107 Ms. S. is showing students the bucket that will go in the bread machine.  She explains that there is a paddle at the bottom that will mix the ingredients when the machine is turned on. 


Here, Ms. S is showing students the contents of the bucket.  We used our SIGHT to tell that the contents was dry and powdery.  We knew (but we didn’t touch) that the flour was soft.






We added yeast to the bucket so the dough would rise.  We SMELLED the yeast and decided it was a smell we wouldn’t like to smell often.  Students noted that baked bread doesn’t smell like yeast.  Some wondered what happens to that smell as the bread is baking.  Do you know?






100_4110-1Ms. S. has put the bucket in the bread maker and is closing the lid.  Students are making predictions about what will happen to the ingredients.  As the machine turns on, they use their HEARING to know the machine is working.  They can hear the paddle turning around.  They are using their SIGHT to watch the dry ingredients mix with the wet water.  Some students think the dough is becoming sticky because it is stretching a little and some is stuck to the side of the bucket.


Students waited very patiently until the bread finished baking.  They used their sense of TOUCH to know it was baking because when they went close to the bread machine, they could feel the heat.  All students were careful to not touch the machine, and they reminded their friends throughout the morning to walk carefully in that area.


  The bread was finally finished!  We looked and smelled and decided we needed to eat it!  After washing hands, students were able to knock on the loaf—they noticed that the crust was hard.  Students predicted that when they tasted the bread, t100_4124his part would be crunchy.  Watching as I cut into the loaf, students said that the inside seemed ‘squishy.’  They determined that this part would not be crunchy when they tasted it.  Every student tasted the bread and described it to a partner.  Luckily for Ms. S., she came down to visit us before the last piece was eaten.  She said she knew it was time to come back to our room because she could SMELL bread all the way down the hall.  The students thought it would be fun to take Ms. M, the principal, a piece of bread also, so we all went down to the office.  Ms. M. asked us many questions about how we used our senses as we made the bread.



  Our kids LOVED making bread.  They compared and contrasted this bread with bread they eat at home (that bread comes in a plastic bag and is already sliced Winking smile).  Both kinds of bread are squishy and soft on the inside.  To thank Ms. S. for helping us make bread, the students wrote her a letter.  Is says,

“Dear Ms. S. – Thank you for the things.  One part was crunchy and one part was soft.  The chocolate tasted yummy (we also tried a crunchy candy bar and examined a packet of mayonnaise with her).  The mayonnaise was smooth.  The bread smelled tasty.  We are excited to learn!  Love, (all student names)”



100_4116This was not our only lesson about using our senses!  Students enjoyed playing Sounds at Home Listening Lotto.  They listened to a CD and matched the sound they heard with pictures on their lotto boards.  A few of the sounds gave us opportunities to talk about the details in sounds—we learned that we need to listen very carefully to hear the details and differences so we know what ‘object’ we are listening to.  We heard doors shutting, a soda bottle being opened, a toilet flushing, a doorbell, a clock chiming, and many others.





One last activity that some of the students participated in was a guided reading group that focused on creating images from all senses.  We read the book Making Salsa.  Students noted that they have all eaten salsa, but no one has ever made it.  I brought in the ingredients (as listed in the book we read). 

Students examined the whole fruits and vegetables.  They touched, smelled, and looked.


Then students added the cut up ingredients to a bowl.  We talked about how strong the smells of the peppers and onions were.  Some students noticed that the cut up vegetables were juicy, too.


Once all ingredients were added, students stirred the mixture together.


Finally, they ate their creation!


Working with our senses in these ways helped us understand how our senses help us see and participate in the world around us.  We are translating this knowledge to our reading by talking about the illustrations and the text in terms of our senses.  For example, we might talk about:

* what the wind feels like on our faces and in our hair when we read about a character flying a kite

* the taste of the pancakes that are made in one of our ‘how to’ books

* what we might hear from the instruments or radio in a book about music

Using our senses is very important to understanding just about everything in our world.  How do you use your senses at home?


Happy Learning!


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