What are potato chip adjectives?
Potato Chip Adjectives is an activity I built up for a second grade classroom during student teaching (from an idea I got from my mentoring teacher Kelley McCormick). I thought it was ingenious!
Use this as an activity to introduce/reintroduce your students to the practice of using colorful adjectives in their writing.
Step one: Buy two kinds of potato chips; enough for the entire class to get two small piles out of them. A very small handful of chips per student per bag is sufficient.
Step two: Print off the handout front and back (one per type of chip) and pass them out.
Set the expectation: Explain that this activity is going to help them to practice adding adjectives to their writing. Explain how adjectives are used to make writing more vivid and colorful. Explain how adjectives usually involve all of the five senses-smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound.
Step three: Distribute the potato chips. Make sure they have paper towels or small plates at their desks. Do not allow them to eat them at this time. IT IS NOT SNACK TIME! I would suggest an assembly line process; one group retrieves plates/paper towels then moves to the potato chips then back to their desk. A group should be at each of these stations until all groups are back at their desks. If allowing students to ration out potato chips themselves, monitor them closely and make sure all hands are washed prior! If your classroom management is a little on the lax side this could get out of hand quickly.
Directions: Have them sample one kind of potato chip. Explain again that they are using their 5 senses to describe the potato chips. Have students come up with as many adjectives as possible. They usually have difficulty with sound and will need prompting. When you see that they are nearly finished with the one kind of chip, have them flip over the page and sample the other chips, repeating the process. Again, stress that it is NOT snack-time!!! When they have finished, have them clean up before proceeding to the next step.
Step four: Have them write a rough draft of a paragraph using as many of the adjectives they came up with as they can in their writing. Urge them to use at least 5 (one of each sense).
Suggested prompts to use:
- A descriptive text-I tasted two kinds of potato chips.
- A narrative- What we did today.
- An opinion piece-I recommend this kind of potato chip over the other because….
- Fiction-If I were a potato chip or from a potato chips point of view.
- Compare/Contrast – List similarities and differences.