Summer's End

poem by Lisa Varchol Perron , illustrated by Amy Golbach

Learning Intention: 

I am learning to use sensory language so that I can use more effective descriptions in my writing. 

Success Criteria: 

  • I can identify the sensory language used in a text. 
  • I can write my own descriptions using sensory language. 
  • I can create a visual collage using my own words and pictures. 

Essential knowledge: 

Information about using imagery in our writing can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Connotation, Imagery and Symbol. 

After reading the poem, discuss the idea of sensory language, explaining to students that this is when we use words to give a feeling of sight, sound smell, touch and taste. Reread the poem, or if you have a digital subscription, listen to the audio recording and pause after each stanza. As you do this, ask students to identify sensory language and discuss the feelings the following lines evoke for them: 

  • My belly still bobs as if riding the waves (e.g. weightlessness, movement) 
  • With salt on my skin (e.g. skin feels tight and rough) 
  • Sand in my hair (e.g. hair feels coarse and stringy) 
  • I carry the scent of the ocean (e.g. the beach smell gives a feeling of holidays and relaxation) 
  • As summer surrenders to autumn (e.g. feeling cooler and calmer) 

Read or listen to the last stanza: 

But memories lodge 

in my body and brain 

They’ll fade, but they won’t be forgotten 

Discuss the meaning of this idea and ask students to think about memories lodged in their own brain and body that transports them to a certain time and place, as the poem does with the beach and summer. 

Instruct students to think about how they can use sensory language to describe their thoughts. Model suggestions such as: 

The smell of the hot road after the rain 

The air is so cold I can see the fog of my breath 

The leaves crunch beneath my feet 

The cool water glides along my skin 

 Ask students to write their own sensory descriptions on strips of paper and draw an illustration for each one on a small square of paper. They should then arrange their words and pictures into a collage and stick them down onto an A4 piece of cardboard. Collages can then be displayed in the classroom.