Authors make pictures with words. Sentences that include sensory details
that help a reader visualize ideas are called Snapshot Sentences.
After reading an informational selection that contains descriptive details
specifically written to evoke images, have students collect Snapshot Sentences.
Analyze the sentences for sensory details and figurative language such
as similes and metaphors.
Excerpt from Thermals and Updrafts:
“Imagine being able to float in the sky, circling higher and higher,
into the clouds, held up by nothing more than a soft breeze of rising
air. That's what flying animals, from hawks to monarch butterflies, do
every day. How do they catch a "breeze" going UP? And how does
a breeze going straight up help them to migrate ACROSS the continent?
1. Invite students to write snapshot sentences and paragraphs using descriptive
details/language collected from reading a variety of selections on a topic.
2. Collect snapshot sentences from many genres of writing. Ask students
to classify the sentences based on similarities and differences.
3. Invite students to add/insert snapshot sentences into expository texts
to include ideas that help readers visualize the author’s ideas.
4. Take students outdoors for a “Snapshot Sit.” Have students
bring a notebook and pencil outside to collect sensory details: What do
you see? What do you hear? How does the air feel? What smells does your
nose detect? Using the details they collect, students write snapshot sentences,
paragraphs, or poems that describe their “field observations.”
Strategies: Identify Main Ideas and Support Details, Visualize
Ideas Described in the Text, Synthesize Ideas, Summarize Information,
Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions