Getting kids to write descriptively can be challenging. Often time they write something down and in the middle of reading it to you, they stop and say, "so what I mean is that..." or "and he also has...". My immediate response is that they need more detail and description.
My grade team partner and I found a great idea on the Teaching Chanel called Monster Match. We had our classes work on writing descriptively by having them create a monster and then write a descriptive paragraph. Oh, the learning was abundant.
Prep: I drew my own monster and had wrote a descriptive paragraph about him.
I displayed my paragraph on the SMARTboard and gave the students a piece of scrap paper to draw on. I read the paragraph and allowed the students time to draw what they were picturing in their mind.
I revealed my monster and they compared. It was great for them to see how close their drawing was to mine. Some, of course forgot to add a few pieces of detail. I also was reminded that I didn't add some detail that was important, and it was a perfect teaching moment.
The students were then asked to design their own monster. The room fell silent as they carefully worked away and hid their picture from wandering eyes.
The following day we jotted down a few words that would describe our monsters. The students then wrote paragraphs using a lot of detail.
After a time of revising and editing, they shared their paragraphs with a student in the other grade three class. The quickly learned how must detail they included or left out. It was a great and fun way to practice descriptive writing.