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Describing a Person: Adding Details

Lesson 3 presents a unique set of problems for students. They must describe a person in detail and place the subject in a setting; yet they must not end up writing a narrative, or story. Even with WriteShops careful guidelines and instructions, many still end up focusing on the activity and neglecting the actual description of their subject. But its good to let your kids struggle with the initial writing process. It helps them wrestle with ideas and words, and it reminds them of the importance of brainstorming adequately and effectively. Once your students have had the chance to brainstorm and write the sloppy copy, edit it, and write a first revision, theyll be ready for helpful feedback. If theyre like most kids, the chances are good that theyll need to add more description. How can you help them consider details they may never have thought about? Start here! Encourage your kids to improve description in a couple of areas youve indicated as weak. Attach a copy of the tips (below) to your Teachers Writing Skills Checklist. These ideas will help them improve their paragraph as they think of more concrete ways to describe their subjects appearance. And heres a thought: you dont have to wait till they turn in their first revision to introduce these ideas. 1. Use the tips as teaching tools when youre presenting the lesson. Discuss the various aspects of describing a person before letting the kids loose to brainstorm. 2. Or once the sloppy copy has been written and edited, give this list of ideas to stimulate creativity and to help the students write a meatier first revision. It will be impossible (and unnecessary) for your child to include all the descriptive elements listed below. After all, the composition is limited to one little paragraph! But you can certainly expect that paragraph to sparkle with a few additional, well-chosen details. What really matters is this: Regardless of when or how you approach it, improved description will result. And after all, isnt that the point? Face Shape

Square Oval Round Triangular Heart-shaped

Skin/Face/Complexion (Complexion is the natural appearance and color of the skin, especially of the face; e.g. Mary has a soft, creamy complexion.

Freckled: sprinkled or covered with light brown spots Rosy: pink-cheeked; fair complexion that glows with a hint of pink Ruddy: skin that has a healthy reddish tint; may have the appearance of sunburn Tanned: skin with a healthy golden-brown tint

Wrinkled: full of or covered with lines or loose folds of skin; often associated with age Other skin-related adjectives: pale, spotless, silky, smooth, creamy, baby-soft, glowing, paper-thin or translucent (as with a very old person); rough, callused, dry

Eyes General

Brown-eyed mother, bright-eyed sister, wide-eyed child

Eye expressions:

Adj. eyes: piercing, mesmerizing, sad, sorrowful, tear-filled, gentle, sympathetic, warm, compassionate, expressive, twinkling, lively, dancing, laughing

Eye Shape and Size

Large, small, almond-shaped, round, slanted, squinty, crinkly


Thin lips, full lips, pouting lips, pursed lips (puckered up, like when someone is concentrating) Laugh, smile, beam, grin, frown, grimace, scowl

Hair Texture/Appearance

wavy, curly, straight, spiky, stiff, buzzed, shaved, parted, neatly-combed, tamed, long, short, cropped

Hair Styles

braids, ponytail, pigtails, bun, twist, bob, ringlets, flip, bangs, buzz layered, feathered, chopped, gelled, spiked, slicked down

Lots of hair

thick, full, lustrous, bushy, coarse, wiry (stiff)

Little hair

thin, scraggly, fine, baby-fine, wispy, limp, flat, balding, bald, bald spot, receding hairline (gradual loss of hair at the front of the head)

Treated hair

per med, dyed, bleached, highlighted, weaved

Hair colors

black, brunette, brown, chestnut-brown, honey-blond, blond, golden-blond, ash-blond, auburn, red, strawberry-blond, gray, silver, white, salt-and-pepper

Facial Hair

Beard, goatee, mustache, sideburns Five oclock shadow: new beard growth, shadowy in appearance, that can be seen late in the day on the jaw, chin, or cheek area (also known as stubble) Adjectives: bearded, unshaven, clean-shaven, trimmed, neatly-trimmed


Fabric: denim, twill, wool, cotton, tweed, polyester, corduroy, fleece, spandex, leather Bottoms: jeans, cargo pants, flat-front pants, pleated pants, slacks, trousers, overalls, sweatpants, crop pants, capris, skirt, culottes, shorts, board shorts Tops: sport shirt, dress shirt, polo shirt, button-down shirt, tank top, blouse, long-sleeve, shortsleeve, sleeveless, collared, T-shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie, pullover, sweater, cardigan Other clothing: dress, uniform, costume, pajamas, bathrobe, robe, vest, jacket, blazer, coat, socks, stockings, gloves, hat, cap, shoes, boots, slippers, sandals, flip-flops, heels, pumps

Sentence Starters Describing Clothes

Kim Kautzer and Debbie Oldar

Smartly dressed in (name of garment), she... Casually attired in (name of garment), Jolene Simply clad in (name of garment), Mark... Dennis sports a (name of garment)

Brainstorm and paragraph Worksheet.