Teaching Students How To Think   2 comments

Teaching students how to think is not as difficult as you would imagine. They can flourish and excel at descriptive scenes if they are given the right guidance. Today’s blog shows how to describe a battle scene using the best techniques. The paragraphs at the end deconstruct the methods needed to write an effective battle scene. The five boxes have words that are geared towards different levels of ability, from beginners to advanced. Level 1 is basic and Level 5 is complex. The sentences show how to put the words in the boxes into sentences.I hope you enjoy the hints, no matter what your level of ability.




LEVEL 1         LEVEL 2         LEVEL 3         LEVEL 4         LEVEL 5          OTHERS

bat-black cauldron-black pagan-black corbie-black Barabbas-black
cobra-black carrion-black profane-black carnal-black Beelzebub-black

1. A scar of bright light hung in the bat-black sky.

2. A gash of radiant light broke through the cauldron-black sky.

3. A fracture of birthstone-bright light peeped through the pagan-black sky.

4. A rupture of moonstone-yellow light appeared in the carnal-black sky.

5. A lesion of lodestar-bright light illuminated the benighted sky.


berry-red poppy-red magma-red balefire-red hellacious-red
mercury-red brazier-red molten-red brimstone-red Titian-red

1. Berry-red blood squirted from our wounds.

2. Brazier-red blood sprayed from our wounds.

3. Molten-red blood splashed from our open wounds.

4. Balefire-red blood splattered from our gaping wounds.

5. Titian-red blood spurted from our wounds as men wailed and screamed.


bangingbashing clobberingclubbing smashingsmiting carvingcleaving hackinghewing
batteringbeating clunkingcrashing poundingpummelling blastingbludgeoning lashing/gashingmangling/gouging

1. We were battering and beating against our enemy under a sunless sky.

2.  We were clobbering and clubbing against their shield wall under a moonless sky.

3. We were pounding and pummelling their defences under a beamless sky.

4. We were carving and cleaving towards the centre of their army under a rayless sky.

5. We were mangling and gashing their serried ranks under a starless sky.


buzzing and fizzing shrilling and sissing puling and purling trembling and thrumming skirling and sizzling
fizzling and frizzling zipping and hissing rasping and keening whizzing and whistling whining and wailing

1. A storm of arrows was buzzing and fizzing through the sky.

2. A blizzard of spears was shrilling and sissing through the sky.

3. A tempest of lances was rasping and keening through the basalt-black sky.

4. A maelstrom of pig stickers was whizzing and whistling through the benzene-black sky.

5. A windstorm of fire arrows was skirling and sizzling through the bitumen-black sky.

                                                 CRIES OF PAIN

screamingscreeching snarlingsquealing roaringmewling groaningyowling bawling bellowing
wailingwhimpering sobbingsnivelling blubberingchoking yelpingyammering keeningcaterwauling

1. Men were screaming and screeching as the ground became slippery with sludge.

2. Men were snarling and squealing as the ground became greasy with gore.

3. Men were blubbering and choking as the battleground became slimy with intestines.

4. Men were groaning and yowling as the battlefield became slick with innards.

5. The theatre of death filled up with keening and caterwauling sounds as the sodden earth became oily with ichor.


chiming clinking jingling clattering clanging
chinking ringing jangling clanking clangourous

1. Our harnesses were chinking and dinging under the boiling sky.

2. Our swords were clinking and clashing under the churning sky.

3. Our chain armour was jingling and tinkling under the turbulent, cellar-black sky.

4. Our axes were clattering and clanking into their wooden shields under the roiling, doom-laden sky.

5. Our weapons were clanging and clangourous under the seething, spite-filled sky.


a sea of enemies a flood of monsters a host of ogres a hive of cannibals a plague of hellhounds
a swarm of opponents a legion of trolls a horde of beasts a throng of goblins an infestation of orcs

1. Our bones were breaking and popping as a sea of enemies crashed into us.

2. Our bones were snapping and shattering as a flood of monsters broke our lines.

3. Our bones were cracking and crunching as a horde of beasts smashed into us.

4. Our bones were fracturing and rupturing as a throng of goblins hurtled into us.

5. Our bones were splitting and splintering as a plague of hellhounds careered into us.


vile sickly noxious pungent mildewy
ungodly septic nauseating putrefying mordant

1. The ground was glazed with gizzards and a vile smell rose up from it.

2. The ground was burnished with entrails and a sickly odour rose up from it.

3. The ground was lubricated with guts and a nauseating waft arose from it.

4. The battleground was anointed with bowels. The putrefying stench of a thousand battles seemed to come from it.

5. The effluvium of death was all around us. The battlefield had been baptised in blood and the bitter, mordant perfume of corpses emanated from it.


eye-popping head-clasping skin-crawling bone-rattling bladder-emptying
heart-thumping marrow-freezing spine-chilling blood-curdling bowel-loosening

1. Our new armour was flashing like moon fire, but it was an eye-popping moment,

2. Our lances sparkled like dew gleam, but it was a marrow-freezing moment.

3. Our new shields were gleaming like star flame, but it was a spine-chilling moment.

4. The dewy grass flickered like diamond flame as a blood-curdling howl rent the air.

5. Our spear tips glinted like wicked hoar frost, but the screams of the enemy were bowel-loosening.


salty acrid tangy brackish cerulean
saline vinegary tart briny coppery

1. A jet of blood surged into the air. It tasted salty.

2. A fountain of blood soaked my face. It tasted vinegary.

3. A geyser of blood showered into the air. It tasted tangy.

4. A spritz of blood spouted into the air. It tasted brackish.

5. A wellspring of blood sluiced into the air. It tasted coppery.

                     LEVEL 1: BASIC SENTENCES

1. The sky was cobra-black. SKY COLOUR

2. Mercury-red blood drizzled to the ground.  BLOOD COLOUR

3. Our enemies were banging and bashing at our lines. BATTLE SOUNDS

4. Our fire arrows were fizzing and fizzling through the air. MISSILE SOUNDS

5. Their men were wailing and whimpering in pain. CRIES OF PAIN

6. Our armour was chiming as the horses galloped. SOUND OF METAL

7. A swarm of opponents attacked us. PLURAL NOUNS

8. The smell of battle was ungodly. SMELL

9. The battle was heart-thumping. SENSATION

10. The saline taste of blood was in my mouth. TASTE


                    LEVEL 2: A BASIC PARAGRAPH

The sky was carrion-black. Poppy-red blood drizzled from our wounds. The trolls were clunking axes and crashing war hammers against our shields. Arrows were zipping and hissing through the air. Some of our men were sobbing and snivelling with fear. Swords were ringing against each other. A legion of trolls attacked the centre of our lines. The septic smell of death hung over the battlefield. It was a battle of head-clasping horror. The acrid taste of blood rose up in our mouths.


                    LEVEL 3: MIRROR SENTENCES

1 The sky was profane-black. (Creating atmosphere)

2 Our cold hands gripped our cold, steel swords. (Repetition)

3 The wind whipped at our faces. (Alliteration)

4 We looked at the sea of monsters that surrounded us. (Metaphor)

5 Their spears glinted wickedly.  We were afraid. (Using a personal response)

6 Their feet stamped as they roared up at us. (Onomatopoeia)

7 “Fire!” our commander screamed. (Using direct speech)

8 A storm of arrows (Metaphor) whizzed and fizzed into the night. (Onomatopoeia)

9 Ember-red blood (Using colour) gushed (Onomatopoeia) from the monsters.

10 They surged forward. It was like being attacked by a swarm of insects. (Simile)

11 Their iron ladders clanked off the castle walls. (Onomatopoeia)

12 They all had bulbous eyes (Character description) and they blazed magma-red with hatred. (Using colour)

13 Our teeth chattered (Sense of sensation) and our spines tingled with fear. (Sense of sensation)

14 The swishes and hisses of swords slashing through the air made the battle seem more perilous. (Consonance)

15 His sword rose. I fell. (Short syntax for dramatic effect)


                     LEVEL 4: MIRROR SENTENCES

1 The sky was damnation-black. (Better diction)

2 Our cold hands gripped our gelid swords. (Better diction)

3 The wind screamed and slashed at our faces. (Alliteration and pathetic fallacy)

4 A plague of monsters (Better metaphor) teemed beneath our feet at the castle walls. (Establishing location quicker than before)

5 Their spears glittered and glowed under the ghostly moonlight. (Assonance)

6 Their feet thundered on the valley’s cold floor as they bellowed up at us. (Onomatopoeia)

7 Our commander screamed; “Fire!” and we loosed our arrows. (Better command of syntax)

8 A blizzard of arrows (Metaphor) buzzed and hummed into the shroud of black sky. (Onomatopoeia)

9 Molten-red blood (Better colour) sluiced (Onomatopoeia) from the deadly wounds the arrows caused.

10 The monsters swarmed forward like a plague of ravenous locusts. (Better simile)

11 Their iron ladders were thunking and clanging off the castle walls. (Better onomatopoeia)

12 They all had saurian eyes and they were festering with hatred for us. (More creative description)

13 Our hearts pounded against our rib cages and our neck hairs felt like pins with the terror of it all. (Better expression of sensation)

14 The slithering sounds of thousands of swords being unsheathed were frightening. (Consonance)

15 It was carnage. (Short syntax for dramatic effect)

                     LEVEL 5: MIRROR SENTENCES

The starless sky was casket-black and brooding. (Using pathetic fallacy) Even the clouds seemed morose. Gelid hands clasped algid steel as we gazed upon our foe. The cold, north wind keened and mewled through both the valley and the souls of our men. (Four archaic words)

The clouds cleared. Their spears glimmered cruelly under the eerie moon. Its phantom flame sent ribbons of chrysalis-silver light spilling onto the upraised shields of our men. (Assonance) The monsters swarmed and swayed below us like corn in a field, yet it seemed there were more of them than a thousand bushels could hold. (Hyperbole) Our commander raised our proud pennant aloft in defiance. (Alliteration) It represented our dreams, our lives and our salvation. (Triplication and symbolism) If it was taken, it would mean we were dead.

They crashed upon the castle walls as our commander screamed; “Fire!” in desperation. (Better syntax) Their iron-shod feet clapped off the frozen ground like the rumbling of thunder. (Simile) A tempest of wicked, barbed fire arrows (Metaphor) soared into the sombre sky. (Alliteration) They sizzed and sizzled (Onomatopoeia) before hitting their targets. Fountains of magma-red blood (Metaphor using hyperbole) sprayed into the air. It was butchery. (Short syntax for dramatic effect) We hoped that we would survive the day. (Finish with hope or despair)

For much more of the above, please check out my book Writing with Stardust or just click on the book images below.












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2 responses to “Teaching Students How To Think

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  1. Why cannot I print your PDF page on Internet

    • Hi Durwood:
      I hope you are well. Apologies and I removed the post as the PDF file has date expired. If you type in ‘Teaching students how to think’ under my website, there are 3 other old posts on this subject. I hope this suits. I might put up a different, more comprehensive post on it tomorrow. Thanks for commenting and ‘bye for now. Liam.

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