Bridge 2 Research Findings

The Descriptive Language Process; Notice, Describe and Ask Protocol


Teachers used the descriptive language process to help students observe and describe their work, thereby developing language skills. Teaching artists in professional development emphasized using the five senses and descriptive detail to convey character and settings in theater arts and puppetry. Teachers developed skills in describing details of students’ artwork. They modeled the use of detailed observational language for their students.

Students practiced using descriptive language for settings, characters, narrative and their artwork. The students also applied the meaning of “detail” during the visual artmaking and responded to artists’ suggestions about adding details on their own. Their perceptions and understandings were reflected in their work.

Young children practiced using descriptive language describing settings, characters, narrative and their artwork. Vocabulary typically included words such as: articulation, character, contrasting, costume, detail, horizontal, layer, levels, setting, shades, three-dimensional, two-dimensional, and vertical. The students also directly and tangibly learned the meaning of detail during the visual artmaking, as they applied the artist’s suggestions about adding detail, and added details on their own.

According to teachers

  • Because of Bridges I use more descriptive language when I teach, allow the kids to create freely, and listen to their thoughts on their creations.
  • Students were able to use a variety of words to describe emotions and feelings. Instead of saying “happy,” they used words such as “excited“ or “joyful.” Instead of saying “sad,” they used words such as “dreadful” or “miserable.”
  • It was an amazing experience to work with all the artists during our PD sessions. I gained so much knowledge introducing different ways of incorporating literacy through puppetry. I was a great experience for myself and my kindergarten students.
  • My children were able to use the vocabulary we learned throughout the day. Throughout conversations, children would use the words “shocked, broken-hearted, slanted, thrilled, annoyed.”
  • I was able to connect with my students on a more creative level instead of just commenting on how well they wrote and discussing the basic fundamentals of writing. Using Bridges, I am able to see them act out a vocabulary word and learn more social-emotional vocabulary. Even student discussion was enhanced. This expression made their writing more detailed and creative. They created beautiful poems about themselves using Bridges.
  • My students incorporated new expressive vocabulary learned during the Bridges lessons into their conversations and written assignments. I began hearing students use the words “excited,” “surprised” and “calm” when explaining their feelings or the feelings of a character in a text. These were explicitly taught during art lessons with our artist teacher. Prior to these lessons most students would use just two words, “happy” or “sad.”
  • One of my students spoke for the first time during Bridges.