This quarter we have been working on writing both fictional and personal narratives. We’ve read lots of examples of great narrative writing and have practiced writing narratives ourselves, starting with one paragraph, then building up to full-length stories.
One thing we’ve noticed is that good writers “show, don’t tell”. That means they include sensory details to make their readers feel like they are part of the story. We also noticed that the best personal narratives come from experiences that cause strong emotions.
Today we practiced using sensory details to describe an experience with strong emotions: playing the Bean Boozled Game! Bean Boozled candies look like regular jelly beans, but some in each box are actually terrible flavors like rotten egg, moldy cheese, and skunk spray! You can’t tell which candies are the good ones and which are bad just by looking.
You play the game by spinning a spinner wheel. The pointer lands on a color, and you have to pick a candy that color and taste it. If you’re lucky you won’t get one of the Bean Boozled beans! It was hysterical to watch our classmates’ faces while they chewed. It definitely brought out some strong feelings! We wrote sentences describing the experience of eating the candies, then turned them into descriptive paragraphs. Here are some of our sentences:
Tooty fruity tastes like bubble gum that has started to fade.
The lawn clippings bean was grassy and earthy.
I put it in my mouth and I got barf. It burned my mouth and it tasted like teriyaki chicken that was left out for a couple of weeks.
_______ got licorice and he said it tasted like his mom’s cooking (he meant that as a bad thing).
My whole body was shaking like a bomb about to explode. My stomach felt as if a million butterflies just hatched inside me.
That was the worst thing I had ever tasted. It tasted like crickets on moldy pizza.
The baby wipes ones are not as bad as you would think. They just taste soapy and flowery.
I waited until the flavor came to me. It started coming up to me, it was like this spiky kind of flavor, but also dull and sweet. It tasted like it was a normal, fresh pear.
Lawn clippings felt like someone pushed you into the ground and you have dirt in your mouth.
The canned dog food tasted salty, like 16-year-old beef jerky.
The toothpaste tasted like I just brushed my teeth then drank orange juice.
The rotten egg jelly bean tasted like a dead chicken that lived on the sun.
When they ate the skunk beans their faces wrinkled up like a old man in a hot bath.
They have an aftertaste that feels like guns in my mouth that are shooting me.
Here is an entire descriptive paragraph, by Diana:
I got to the front and spun the pointer it glided which was very annoying. Eventually it landed on booger or juicy pear. I grabbed the jelly bean out of the container studying, it was light green it dark green specks, before putting it in my mouth. I chewed, at first it was the taste of nothing then it got sour, I thought I had gotten booger. Then sweetness and tartness filled my mouth. I kept chewing and announced it was juicy pear. I went back to my seat still chewing. A after taste filled my mouth, this was much more different and interesting than the first flavor. It was sour and tasted more like a mix of lemon and mango. My chewing became slow as I studied the favor, swishing the bean around in my mouth to help describe it. Soon the flavor disappeared leaving me the still sour taste in the back of my throat. One after another people came up and took one getting stinky socks or fruity tuity, biting their fingers as the pointer spun. Then the small game was finished and everyone got on task leaving things to go back to normal.
If you could invent any jelly bean flavor, what would it be?
How would you describe the taste?
Attribution: the original idea for this writing game came from Hope King (@hopekingteach on Twitter and Periscope).