Power of Description

Version 3


    (30 minutes)


    In the first paragraphs of Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka introduces the main character, Gregor Samsa, and his new reality as a “horrible vermin.” A vivid picture is created in reader’s imagination, one that can leave a lasting impression. But how did Kafka accomplish this? In this lesson, students use the LiC: Reading Comprehension Tool to analyze Kafka’s writing.



    In this lesson, students will:

    • Collect examples of description from Kafka’s Metamorphosis
    • Apply learning about the power of descriptive words and sentences to their own writing



    • LiC: Reading Comprehension Tool


    Instructional Plan:

    1. Ask students to open Metamorphosis in the Reading Comprehension Tool. If this is the first time using the app, students may need a brief tutorial on its main features.
    2. Keep your introduction to the text and Kafka brief. The passage is the first four paragraphs of the book and can stand alone.
    3. Have students read through the passage independently. Then lead a discussion about their thoughts using the following questions:
      1. What do readers know about Gregor Samsa?
      2. What is his room like?
      3. What is the day like?
    4. Explain that Kafka uses descriptive details in his first paragraphs to introduce the setting and the main character. Ask students to read the passage again and drag words to the Descriptive box that showcase words and phrases they feel are particularly impactful.
    5. Share and discuss student word collections. Make sure to note that Kafka did not just use descriptive words; whole phrases and sentences greatly added to the imagery of the passage as well.
    6. After students finish, plan to give them time to share their favorite sentences from the passage.


    Assessment Strategies:

    • Collect an exit ticket from students asking them to share some of the words in their lists and to explain how the words contributed to the description in the passage.



    This lesson is designed to address the following Common Core State Standards:

    Next Steps:

    Encourage students to improve description in their own writing. Ask students to use the Concept Mapping Tool to collect words and phrases that describe a special place. Then ask students to make their place come to life in a descriptive essay.

    In this lesson, students use the LiC: Reading Comprehension Tool to analyze Kafka’s Metamorphosis.