5 Senses Journey

Collaborate as a class to describe and act out the details you see, hear, touch, taste and smell in a story setting.
A classroom teacher and her students standing at the rug during a 5-senses journey under the water. The studentss are making a wide variety of physical choices to show what they are imagining .
 
 

What is it?

Kids gain multisensory tools for literate expression, using their 5 senses to notice and experience setting details. Teachers facilitate the exploration through descriptive storytelling and prompting unison physical and vocal expression.

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/lBxVdg10-rM
    Use the 5 Senses Journey to…
    • make the concept of a setting concrete.
    • build content knowledge about an unfamiliar setting.
    • model a process and multisensroy tools for imagining setting and story details.
    • prepare students to include or develop setting details in their. writing or art making.
    • build collaborative storytelling skills.

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Literacy Connections

Students are often told to “add more detail” to their work. But how do artists and writers generate details? Engage kids in a process for imagining and embodying setting detail that can later transfer into developing their art and writing.

 
  • Settings and cat puppets drawn with colored pencils.
    What strategies for imagining detail are modelled in this activity?
    • Engaging all 5 senses.
    • Noticing and expressing your responses.
    • Moving your body “as if”.
    • Making sound effects.
    • Using descriptive language.
    • Taking on a different perspective or role.
 

Classroom Examples

This activity was tested in a variety of classrooms and adapted by many different classroom teachers and teaching artists!  More examples coming soon.

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/LcgsOHHgUho
    First grade example (teacher led)

    Classroom teacher Hope Komal

    (PS 51Q, 1st grade class)

     

     

  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/zXt3DH0zFak

    Video lesson example- Outerspace

    Teaching Artist Psacoya Guinn
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/zzcinT3VyJo

    Video lesson example- playground

    Teaching Artist Kari Morris

    (made for PS 62Q, 2nd grade)
 

Steps & Scripts

Open each step for sample scripts & a downloadable steps PDF.

 

Step 1: Set up the game

  • Teaching Artist introducing game and students creating various shapes with their bodies.
    Script (2 minutes)
    • We are going to take a magic journey to the setting of__________ and explore it using our 5 senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. (Option to use 5 Senses images as a visual aid)
    • On this journey, we will move our bodies, but we will not move from our spots. Let’s practice walking in place. Let’s run in place. Let’s sneak in place.
    • On this journey, you can express what you are imagining through your movements and sounds, but we won’t stop to talk about everything we imagine. We’ll share once the journey is over.

    Draft Steps 5 Senses Journey

 

Step 2: Take on a role

  • A classroom teacher and her students standing at the rug and pretending to put on a backpack for their 5 senses journey.
    Example Scripts (1 minute)

    Choose one of these to use or inspire your own idea

    • We are artists looking for inspiration. Let’s take our magic notebooks and pencils with us, so that we can make some sketches of anything beautiful or interesting that we see!
    • We are detectives looking for clues in the abandoned house. Does everyone have their magic magnifying glass?
    • We are scientists who want to learn as much as we can about volcanoes. We need to put on our magic protective gear, so that we don’t get burned by the lava.
    • The farmer is sick and needs help taking care of the farm! Are we all ready to help out?

    Draft Steps 5 Senses Journey

 

Step 3: Entrance ritual

  • A classroom teacher and her student use their whole bodies to imagine that they are climbing a tree.
    Example Scripts (< 1 min)

    Choose one of these to use, or inspire your own idea

    • Take your magic pencil and start to draw in the air.  Your pencil is drawing the garden!
    • On the count of three we are going to jump into the volcano!  1-2-3 Juuuuuuuummmmmmp!
    • Rub your hands together and make some magic dust.  When you sprinkle the dust on your head it will transport you to the farm.
 

Step 4: Explore the setting

  • A map with space to take notes in the center about who we are and what our setting is. Around that there are places to take notes about what you will announce, describe and do for 3 elements, why we travel toward each element and a ritual for entering and exiting.
    Sample Script (9 minutes)

    Announce, describe, do and transition for each of the 3 elements you have chosen for your journey.

    1. Announce– We are in a garden full of flowers.
    2. Describe– LThe flowers are bright pink and smell like cotton candy.  When we pick them, we have to be very careful because they are very delicate and light.
    3. Do- Let’s all pick a flower and smell it!  Uh oh!  They are making us sneeze!  Ah Chooooooooooo!
    4. Transition-  Let’s get away from these flowers so we can stop sneezing!

    Spend about 3 minutes on each element of the setting, so that the entire journey takes less than 10 minutes.  See the 5 Senses Journey Support Tool for more examples.

 

Step 5: Exit ritual

  • A classroom teacher and her students standing at the rug during a 5-senses journey. The studnets are makign a wide variety of physical choices to show what they are imagining .
    Example Scripts (< 1 min)

    Choose one of these to use, or inspire your own idea.

    • Let’s use our magic eraser to erase the garden and get back to class!
    • On the count of three we are going to jump out of the volcano!  1-2-3 Juuuuuuuummmmmmp!
    • Rub your hands together and make some magic dust.  When you sprinkle the dust on your head it will transport you back to class.

    Tip- Once you are “back in the class” lead the kids in a few deep breaths to come back into the space and reset.

    Draft Steps 5 Senses Journey

 
 

Start Planning

Before you play, explore these planning resources.

 

Plan your journey!

  • A map with space to take notes in the center about who we are and what our setting is. Around that there are places to take notes about what you will announce, describe and do for 3 elements, why we travel toward each element and a ritual for entering and exiting.
    Take time to craft your 5 senses story

    Planning Step 1- Generate details

    Option 1- Give yourself time to brainstorm and imagine all of the possibilities  by yourself using this tool.  (use add media button) draft planning tool 1- generate detials.docx

    Option 2– brainstorm with the students and then used their ideas to craft the 5 senses journey for hte following week

    Planning Step 2- Choose details

    Don’t try to include too much in one journey.  In this game the kids are following your lead.  Choose just 3 elements that will be active and spark your students’ understanding and imagination and then move on to an activity that allows them to express what they imagined during the game. You can always return to the same setting another week to discover more details.  Use this tool to help you decide which details to include. draft planning tool 2- choose details

    Planning Step 3- Make your map

    “You are painting a picture with your words” Sarah Provost (teaching artists and 5 Senses Journey expert). Use the 5 Senses Journey Support Tool to examples and sentance starters

    Print out the 5 Senses Journey Map and use it to notate what you will announce, describe and do for each story element, and how you will transition from one element to the next.

    Tip- Choose a role!

    Choose a role for the kids to play that will give them a fun reason to notice sensory details in the setting. Maybe they are archeologists, explorers, time travelling scientists, artists looking for inspiration or  detectives looking for clues.

 

Plan spatial support

  • A classroom teacher and her students standing at the rug during a 5-senses journey. The studnets are makign a wide variety of physical choices to show what they are imagining .
    Taking a journey, in one spot

    In this game, we are imagining that we are going on a journey, but we will not move around the room!  It is helpful if students have a clear spot to stay in or return to, such as a square on the rug or the edge of the rug or behind their desk.  Students will need to be able to stand and move their whole body safely.

 

Plan visual supports

  • On the left: A photo of a 5 senses poster made by a teacher with eyes, ears, hands, nose and mouth cut out from magazines and notes about what kids remembered about what they saw heard, touched, smelled and tasted on their journey to the forest. On the right: the drawn 5 senses images that you can download to make your own chart.
    Make a 5 senses poster to...
    • Introduce the five senses visually before the journey.
    • Chart all of the sensory details that you saw together an that children imagined individually, after you do the journey

    Make your own or download  and print the 5 Senses images to cut out.

    Adults need visual support too. Scroll for ideas!

  • A hand drawn cheat sheet on chart paper for a 5 senses journey, with words and images to remind the teacher of the details they want to include
    Grown ups need support too!

    Option 1- Hold your 5- senses journey map in you hands so that you can refer to it.

    Option 2- Make a large map on chart paper or on your smart board to help you remember the details and the order of the journey you have planned out.  Place it somewhere that is easy for you to refer to during the game.

     

     

     

 

Make the imaginary concrete

You may have students who struggle with participating in a journey to an imaginary setting, either because they do not have enough prior knowledge or because they are working on being able to connect to abstract ideas.

Here are some examples of how classroom teachers and teaching artists have given their students concrete experiences to refer to, before or during the 5-senses journey.

  • Playing a recording of bird sounds before going on a journey to a forest.
  • Giving the kids marshmallows to touch, smell and taste before going a camping trip journey.
  • Using tape on the floor to represent something that the kids will have to jump over during the journey.
  • Reading a book and then taking a journey into the setting to Interact with the details in a more active way.
  • Showing video or photographs of the setting before you take the journey.

Slide shows of popular 5 senses journey settings

Underwater (draft)

Volcanoes draft

Mountains (draft)

We hope to generate more ideas and supports for this section!

 

 

 
 

Build Your Skills

You are a storyteller! Prepare to paint a picture with your words and actions and encourage a shared experience.

 
  • Check out these tips for facilitation
    • Give yourself support to remember the details.
    • Vary your vocal quality.
    • Make eye contact with the kids. You are playing with them, not performing for them.
    • Use “We” and “our”. Avoid speaking in first person.
    • Encourage unison action by being descriptive and specific.
    • Refocus without disrupting the imaginar
    For more specifics on how to do the above download the Tips for Facilitation
 

Reflect

After you go on a journey, assess how it went and find support to go deeper!

 
  • Kids are bursting to share their individual ideas

    showing an action, or their reaction to something that the group sees, hears, touches, smells or tastes
    Facilitation Tips- 5 Senses Journey
  • The group got overstinmulated

    Reconnect the students with their role in the game. Example: “Detectives are always very careful not to disturb the evidence!”
    Facilitation Tips- 5 Senses Journey
  • The group lost focus

    Re-apply the magic! Maybe the magic dust wears off when it gets too loud? Sprinkle some more on the class to refocus them!
    Facilitation Tips- 5 Senses Journey
 

Connected Activities

Build on the 5 Senses Journey, with these activities!

 

 

 
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/SnqLIJwHdJk
    Make a puppet theater to play in

    Students can create settings for puppet play and shows that depict the details they experienced using their 5 senses. Watch this video for simple ideas for creating puppet theaters out of collaged backdrops.  The same ideas can be applied to drawn backdrops as well.

  • Classroom teacher Hope Kamal crouches down to get a better look at a torn paper collage backdrop that her student is working on. Although, she is masked, her enthusiasm and attention to his work is evident. The student is describing his choices.

    Make a torn paper collage of the setting

    how pieces of paper can be used to create all of the setting details from our journey.
    Explore & Describe Torn Paper Collage
  • As composite image of two different torn paper collages that use paper to create forms including spirals, triangles and stripes.

    Make a torn paper collage of the setting

    Try the Torn Paper Collage Lesson and discover how pieces of paper can be used to create all of the setting details from our journey.
    Explore & Describe Torn Paper Collage
  • A student holding up their collage of a volcano made with black, blue and red paper torn into triangles and rectangles and crumpled into ball shapes.

    Make a torn paper collage of the setting

    Try the Torn Paper Collage Lesson and discover how pieces of paper can be used to create all of the setting details from our journey.
    Explore & Describe Torn Paper Collage
  • A torn paper collage that consists of texture and 3-D components

    Make a torn paper collage of the setting

    Try the Torn Paper Collage Lesson and discover how pieces of paper can be used to create all of the setting details from our journey.
    Explore & Describe Torn Paper Collage
  • https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uom9vERupF8

    Draw the setting with pencil

    Try the Explore & Describe drawing with pencil lesson to discover how our pencils can help us create details from our journey.
    Explore & Describe Drawing with Pencil
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