I've been working really hard with my second graders on their descriptive writing. I need to move them away from going from fact to fact when they are writing and really stop and linger on each "small moment," in their writing so that they can create a picture in the reader's mind about what is happening. I've seen the small moment and big moment activity idea on some wonderful teachers' blogs and while I was thinking about how best to introduce it to my class, I came up with the following idea.
I described each "big moment," as a cloud, and the tiny small moments as the "raindrops." The cloud has the general topic and the raindrops are the small descriptions of things that happened.
After introducing this concept, I proceeded to show the students two stories of how I got hurt. One was very general such as, "One day I was riding my bike. I hit a rock and I fell. I got hurt and I was sad." The second story was much more descriptive in nature. I explained when and where I was riding my bike, how and why I hit the rock and the feeling associated with seeing the danger in my pathway but not knowing how to stop, etc. I "showed" them through my words how I fell, how I got hurt, what it felt like, what I did afterwards, etc. They obviously liked the second story better. I let them know that I just told them about a ton of small moments in the one big moment of riding a bike and getting hurt.
Next, I put up my three laminated clouds that had a big moment written on them (getting hurt, going to an amusement park, and going to a birthday party). I gave them all an individual raindrop and told them they had to pick one big moment they liked the best or had the most to tell about, and then write about only one thing they did or that happened during that big moment. Then afterwards, they each got to come up to the class, read their small moment, and stick it on the board under their big moment cloud. I loved how one child chose how he had to wait for an hour in line for pizza at the amusement park and when he finally got up to the register, they told him that they had to wait another half hour to get the pizza, so instead he got Mac 'n Cheese. That definitely was much better than just saying, "I got Mac 'n Cheese at the amusement park."
The next day, I had them revisit their small moment. Then, I gave them a graphic organizer where they wrote the same big moment in the middle cloud. But this time they had to brainstorm four small moments that happened instead of just one. Once they jotted down notes, they started their rough drafts.
I checked their writing after each small moment, before they moved on to the next raindrop. This assured me that they were giving me great details for each raindrop before moving on to the next item. I was even able to explain to some of my advanced students that this is where they could break up their writing - by making each raindrop into a new paragraph.
So here is the best part. You can grab the templates to everything above for FREE! Just click HERE or on the first picture to get to my TPT shop and download. Please leave some love if you do!!