Writer in school: My School Jumper – a writing exercise using all five senses

June 2011

This writing exercise worked well with mixed aged children (5 and 6 year olds with 9 and 10 year olds).  Older children supported the younger ones (‘Shall I start that off for you?’  ‘Shall I write that for you?’), younger children often had a wider variety of ideas!
We started by talking about using our five senses in writing and we set out to see if we could make a seemingly boring object (a school jumper) appear more interesting by writing about it in an interesting way.

In the examples given here, the school jumper was brown (though you will see from the photo above that one child drew hers as turquoise!) so I asked the children to tell me what else was brown.
Some of their suggestions were:
mud, chocolate, dog food, wood, bark, burnt toast, sausages, cello

I gave the children the start of their first line, writing on a large piece of paper pinned to the front of the class:
“My school jumper is as brown as……..”
So we had “My school jumper is as brown as a cello” etc

After they’d completed and shared their first lines, we moved on to the other senses. Most children enjoyed holding their jumper, giving it a good sniff, tasting it, rubbing it against their faces, shaking it to make it give a sound. A few really didn’t want to ‘taste’ it, so they imagined what it would taste like.  The children grew their poems gradually, stopping to share their ideas with the whole class, and did lots of talking as well as writing.  Other adults in the room, teachers and teaching assistants, wrote and shared their poems, as well as giving practical help where needed.

Some children had time to draw a simple picture of their school jumper and write their lines of poem around it.

Here are some examples:


My school jumper is as brown as varnished wood.
It feels cosy on the inside and smooth on the outside, like silk.
It tastes like dried up rice and sounds like cloth rubbing on carpet.
My school jumper smells of my Lynx body deo spray.

(by John, aged 10)

My school jumper is as brown as sausages.
It tastes of wet.
It feels like a cushion. It feels like a cloud. It feels like a wind.
It sounds like sand.
It smells of rotten eggs.

(Two children, one aged 10, one aged 5, working together)

My school jumper is as brown as a conker (Chloe, 5)
My school jumper tastes furry, hairy, bumpy on my tongue (Maddison, 6)

My jumper is great.
It smells like soap, trees, wood and cheese strings.
The label smells like yoghurt.
It looks cozy and it looks like fur.
It is a big bar of chocolate.
It tastes like a cupcake and it tastes like coffee.
It sounds like wind, sea, air and a train.

(by Niamh, aged 9)

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