Susan Riley | August 2015

Sparkchasers Season 3 Episode 2: Three Strategies for Building Description Skills

How many times have you asked students to describe something and hear, “it’s good” or “I liked it”?  Getting students to go into detail about anything is a challenge, but it is so important as a foundational skill of the creative process.

Yes – I did just use the word SKILL.  For instance, this means that describing needs to be introduced, practiced, and presented. Just like any other skill we develop in the classroom. In this episode of SparkChasers, I’m sharing 3 strategies you can use within 10 minutes to get students to describe with detail, clarity and (gasp!) excitement.

What’s really interesting about both the Description element of the creative process and the 3 strategies I share are their connections to building focus in our classrooms.  For instance, to be able to describe a problem, idea, solution or process we all need to be able to focus on what’s important, and to shut out what’s not.  This episode will help you piece this all together and even connect it with some Common Core and Core Arts Standards along the way!


iNotice3 Strategy

Concentration Circle Strategy

Using multi-modalities to provide focus

Shark Tank: 10 Worst Pitches of All Time

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan