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how to create descriptive settings

Creating descriptive settings

The aim of this lesson (conducted over 2 weeks) with my P3s was to nurture them to be more descriptive in the way they described their setting or the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of their story.

After a brief discussion about the definition of settings, the students watched this video about the definition and examples of settings:



Next, we worked on descriptive words and phrases to describe two contrasting settings


A happy place


A scary place



P3 The lantern festival model

Lastly, we began work on our composition which was A Lantern Festival. Below is a model from one of my Primary 3 students. Although there were grammatical and structural mistakes (common at this age and as they begin to use more writing techniques in their compositions) the description of her setting was clear and written with a lot of heart 🙂

lantern festival compo model

            “Let’s get ready to celebrate the mid-Autumn festival!” my mother called from the kitchen. My sister, Jane and I looked at each other. It had been a busy week at school and we had not prepared a lantern for the festival. My mother had been busy as well and she had not bought us any. “Don’t worry, ” said mum, “Let’s head down to the Singapore River this evening. I am sure that there will be tons of fun activities there, as well as many lanterns to choose from.”

            In the evening, my mother drove us to the Singapore River. It was swarmed with people and bustling with activity. I felt a surge of excitement as I looked all around me. Red, blue, green and yellow lanterns were decorated all along the river. There were lanterns of every shape, size and design. Banners and flowers were hung on the walls and windows of buildings and there were stalls selling delicious food and mooncakes of every flavour. Jane and I grinned broadly and gave each other a hug. We would have fun here!

            “Look!” exclaimed Jane, pointing at a stall. My eyes followed her finger and saw a large sign that read ‘Lantern making Stall’. We told our mother that we would prefer to make our lanterns instead of buying them. Our mother agreed with our decision and handed Jane some money. She told us to stay at the stall and wait for her. She was going to buy our favourite mooncakes and some other goodies.

            When it was our turn, Jane and I sat down at the stall. A kind lady explained to us how we were going to make our own lantern. Jane and I chose our designs and then we started to follow the instructions. Twenty minutes later, when our mother returned, we showed her our handmade lanterns. “Beautiful!” she exclaimed. Jane and I felt proud. We lit up the lanterns and walked around the Singapore River.

            At 8pm  my mother said that it was time to return home. My aunt and cousins were coming over to share the mooncakes and the goodies. When they arrived, Jane and I showed them our lanterns and they showed us their sparklers. Then, we all went downstairs to the open field near our home and played with the sparklers. My mother took a lot of great photographs of us.

            A few hours later, my aunt and cousins left. As we tucked into bed, I recollected the amazing day that we had. It was a truly memorable lantern festival.

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