Writing about a change in season is a great way of getting students to focus on evocative details. Combined with writing about a memory, it can encourage students to add concrete details to their writing.
Prep and resources
You could use physical props for this exercise, to stimulate sensory responses e.g. conkers, autumn leaves to crunch, earthy russet apples to smell, etc.
Have students write the letters A-Z down one side of a page. Then give them ten minutes to write a word associated with autumn that begins with each letter of the alphabet.
Exercise: Remember, Remember
Ask your students to close their eyes and imagine the changing seasons, remembering how those changes feel: the first cold days, the feel of wind or drizzle on their skin. Ask students to think about the before and the after e.g. the heat and the cool. What are the smells? What are the changes in the appearance of things? e.g. trees turning, the afternoons darkening. What are the sounds and tastes associated with this time?
Then, urge students to remember changing seasons in the past, and to focus on one clear memory of a season changing. Urge them to think about the place where they were, and everything they could sense then. Encourage the use of all five senses, being as concrete and specific as they can.
End by asking students to look over what they’ve written and underline phrases or words they particularly like.
Feedback: ask students to volunteer to read some of the parts they have underlined. What stands out as particularly effective? Do the students have shared experiences? Discuss how their descriptions of the seasons differ. Where very similar phrases occur, ask students to revise their wording to make it more original. Give students another ten minutes to edit their writing. Finish by asking if anyone would like to read their whole piece aloud.