In order to get stories to come alive, authors appeal to the human senses. They do this by captivating their audience through the creation of their characters, and the description of the setting and plot as if the reader were there seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling for themselves. This is a very difficult task for students. In this lesson the students will use images and focus on one sense at a time. They will brainstorm adjectives and complete sentences that describe the images that are presented to them.
Some images that I have chosen for this activity are
Philippe Mercier's The Five Senses
(c.1740). This is a collection of 5 images located in the Yale Center for British Art. Each one describes one of the fives senses carefully. The following activity can be used as a starting off point before students begin to write their own stories. The template that is attached is a great way to help students organize their thoughts as well as compare the senses and see which one they are more apt to using. This would be a great way to assess which students need more help and which students understand how to use their 5 senses.
Philippe Mercier –
The Sense of Taste 1744–1747
I see three men and two women. One of the men appears to be a servant. He is black and well dressed. They others are drinking the finest wine and eating exquisite peaches and figs. They are sweet and juicy. The wine is cool and bubbly. On the table, it appears that there are ice cream floats. It might be their dessert. The man and women to the right might be the hosts since they are pouring the drinks for the other two who might be the guest.
The Sense of Hearing – 1730
There are four women in the image. All of them are playing an instrument. It seems like they are all playing the same song and they are looking at the book that is on the piano. The three women who are dressed is light colors look much younger than the woman in black. She's is the oldest and is playing the heaviest instrument. Their song seems peaceful and sweet since their expression is very calm. The women in the back is having a hard time looking at the notes and may not be able to keep in tune with the others. The woman on the piano doesn't need to read the notes. She may already know the song by heart since her gaze is off the page.
The Sense of Touch – 1689
In this image there are many various aspects of touch. The man is licking his finger, as it appears that the cat scratched him. The baby is feeling the cat's smooth fur. The woman is feeling sorry for the man who was hurt and is placing her hand on his shoulder. The two on the right side of the image are embracing each other and about to kiss.