Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Underwater Descriptive Detectives

Sharon Ussery
Hardee County Schools


Everyone loves to have spice in their lives. Why not add spice to your writing! Come and join us on an underwater adventure with Danny the Underwater Descriptive Detective. By the end of our adventure, you will be one of Danny's junior detectives.


The student uses descriptive words to convey ideas in writing.


-White construction paper for each child
-Wiggly eyes (optional)
-Writing paper
-Pencils for each child
-Yellow highlighters for each child
-Orange highlighters for each child
-Different colors of tissue paper (cut into ˝" squares)
-6 glue sticks for the class to share
-Scissors for each child
-Stapler with staples
-Song: “Wee Sing Under The Sea” (MCA Universal Home Video, 1997)
-Fantastic Fish practice sheet (See attached file)
-Fish pattern (See attached file)
-Danny the Descriptive Detective (See attached file)
-Sample of the fish book cover (if needed)


1. Gather all materials.
2. Run enough fish patterns for each student to have.
3. Make sure you have the music you need for Day 2
4. You may want to cut out and laminate Danny the Descriptive Detective for future use.


Day One:
1. Read [Rainbow Fish] by Marcus Pfister, North-South Books, 1996.

2. Give examples of how words can spice up a sentence and bring a clearer picture to the reader. For example: The teacher may ask which sentence gives you a clearer picture of what the writer is writing about? (I see a cat, or I see a fat, black cat walking down the street.)

3. Brainstorm what words were used to describe the fish in the [Rainbow Fish] story.

4. Give the students the practice activity sheet entitled Fantastic Fish. (See attached file.)

5. Explain to the students that they have five minutes to write down as many descriptive words as they can.

6. Have the students share their descriptive words with the rest of the class.

7. Tell the students that tomorrow they will have a special visitor come to the class that lives in the ocean with Rainbow Fish.

Day 2:
1. Introduce the lesson for the day by playing “Wee Sing Under The Sea” (MCA Universal Home Video, 1995).

2. Show the students Danny the Descriptive Detective. (See attached file.)

3. Ask the students what type of descriptive words could they use to describe Danny.

4. Let the students know that Danny has come to school today because he has a problem and that he needs some junior detectives to help him out. Somebody has taken all the spice out of the ocean, and Danny would like them to help him bring the spice back to his underwater home. Danny wants each student to write his or her very own descriptive fish story so that he can bring it back to his home and spice it up.

5. Hand out the fish pattern to each student. (See attached file.)

6. Explain to each student that they are to write a story about fish or things that a fish might see in the ocean.

7. Remind them that they are junior descriptive detectives and that they need to use at least ten descriptive words in their story.

8. Give the students fifteen minutes to write their stories. More time may be needed depending on your class.

9. Hand out a yellow highlighter to each student and have them go back and highlight each descriptive word in their story. (See Assessment.)

10. Then have them trade stories with a student. This can be done by drawing names from a container, matching high to low readers, etc.

11. Hand out an orange highlighter to each student and have them underline the descriptive words that they found in the other student's story.

12. Hand papers back to students so that they may compare the yellow and orange highlighted descriptive words.

13. Collect the stories to use in the next lesson and to review for assessing if the student was able to use descriptive words in their stories.

Day 3:
1. Tell the students that Danny the Descriptive Detective was very pleased with their stories, and now he would like them to share their stories with the class.

2. Hand the stories back out to the class and have one child at a time share his or her story.

3. After each child has read his or her story to the class, they are to choose two students.

4. These students who were picked may ask one thing they would like to know about the story. For example, Sally wrote the following sentence: I saw a fantastic fish swimming in the ocean. Someone might ask the following question. What did the ocean look like?

5. Next, the reader will pick two different students. These students will tell the class what they liked about the story.

6. Continue this process until all students have had a chance to share (if they would like to).

7. Use the fish pattern, tissue paper, wiggly eyes (optional), and glue to let the students create their own covers for the fish stories.

8. Display Danny the Descriptive Detective and his fish stories on a classroom bulletin board. A suggested title may be Danny and his Delightful Junior Descriptive Detectives.

9. Assess the activity.


One of the assessments that will be used with Underwater Descriptive Detectives lessons is a self-assessment by the students during Day 2. Students will highlight in yellow all the descriptive words that they have written in their stories. Then they will let another student read their story and underline in orange descriptive words that they find in the story. Stories will be collected to see if the students were able to use ten descriptive words in the writing process. If a student did not use ten descriptive words, the teacher needs to go back and review with that student to make sure they understand the descriptive word process.


1. Students could go around and read their stories to different teachers, the principal, the lunchroom staff, etc.
2. Students who have a hard time writing their stories down could tape their story and then orally tell the teacher what descriptive words they used in their story.
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