Overview: Lesson pairing descriptive writing with music and movement.

Today’s lesson is geared toward 1st and 2nd grade students and is a wonderful way to include movement, music and writing.  Often, it’s difficult to get this age group excited and engaged about writing.  Typically, we are so concerned with grammar that many children begin to dread the writing process.  This lesson allows students to open up, be creative, and still incorporate descriptive writing practice.  Many thanks to Ginny Ellingsworth for such a great lesson plan!



Discuss and review words that come to mind when describing a lion/elephant. Chart these words according to their parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.).


Tell the students that they will be listening to the Lion/Elephant selections of “The Carnival of the Animals”. Then, play the lion/elephant music selection.


  1. Through discussion (What do the animals/their surroundings look like? What are they doing? Are they moving? How are they moving?), chart any additional descriptive words that the music brings to mind.
  2. Ask students to pantomime the lion/elephant when the music plays again. Add more descriptive words to the chart.
  3. In groups, have the children come up with several sentences using descriptive language about one of the animals. They can then illustrate their writing.

Transition: Provide time to share finished products. Ask students to act out the sentences in a tableau. Other students can guess the sentences after seeing each tableau.

Closure: As a class, discuss and praise the children’s use of descriptive language in their writing.