The Best Skills to Teach 'Describing Things': Part 1 - "Describing Quality Things' in Form Two

The Best Skills to Teach 'Describing Things': Part 1 - "Describing Quality Things' in Form Two

Welcome to UNIT 13.2

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 13.1, "Talking about ownership or possession" in Form One was discussed. 

IN THIS UNIT 13.2, "Describing things" in Form Two will be covered.

Sub Topic: Describing things.
Periods per sub topic: 10
Class: Form Two.

Obviously, without descriptions, we could not get to know most of the things. Take an example of any you have never seen before not with a picture, and ask yourself how did you get to know it? Actually, you know it through descriptions. You may been told about the giant snake like Anaconda but only through descriptions, and when you really see it, it is when you can prove that: 'Yes, this is what I was told about'. Most of the things are described but we have never seen them before.

In this sub topic, students will learn how to describe things in terms of quality and quantity by using appropriate expressions and vocabularies.

Part One: Describing things in terms of quality.

In this sub topic, the student should be able to describe things in terms of their quality. The student will have the skills of using proper words, phrases, and expressions in expressing things according to their qualities.

This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:

  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.

In this sub topic/lesson; the teacher will brainstorm with the students on the meaning of the word ‘describe’ (v) and ‘description’ (n), and how things are described.

  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.

In this sub topic/lesson: In terms of teaching media, teacher is going to apply various cards, pictures, diagrams, and texts as well. For example, colours are easy to prepare. You can take marker pens of different colours and draw various objects.

  1. Target Practice. At this point, teacher shows/guides students how to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.

In this sub topic/lesson; teacher will guide students to the application of various appropriate expressions when talking about things in terms of their quality. Some common expressions are: beautiful;. ugly; A tall building; ...this is brown/purple/orange; handsome;... is a pretty...; .....not a white....

Sentence Examples:
  • Asha is very tall.
  • Khadija is beautiful.
  • That girl is pretty.
  • That car is brown.
  • He is handsome.
  • There is the tallest building at the centre of the town.

Note: All adjectives in bold letters are used to describe quality of things.

  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like homes, school, library and other literary settings.

In this sub topic/lesson; the appropriate contexts or situations for this topic/lesson are contexts of school and home. Students will be guided to describe things in terms of quality at school and at home.

  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.

In this sub topic/lesson; teacher will have to introduce students to widely used expressions when describing things in terms of quality such as: sky-blue, sea, blue, maroon, triangle, square, circle, rectangle, polygon, and hexagon. All these vocabularies express colour, shapes, appearances etc.


Guide the students to the full lesson procedures, activities and games for the better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:

Activity One: The teacher to introduces students to the meaning of the concept ‘quality'. After introducing this concept well, the teacher can now guide students to the discussion of things in terms of quality. The things can be described in terms of quality by looking at the following areas;
Things introduced in terms of colour are introduced by using verbs 'am', 'is', and 'are'; For example:
  • This house has been painted white.
  • She has blue eyes.
  • My grandfather has grey hair.
  • Your teeth are so white.
  • I have black hair.

Things introduced in terms of colour are introduced by using verbs 'am', 'is', and 'are'; For example:
  • My friend is 14 years old
  • My mother is 35 years old
  • How old are you?
  • I'm 13 years old
  • She is old.
  • Their baby is 4 months old.
  • They are 20 years old
  • He is older than me

Things introduced in terms of colour are introduced by using verbs 'am', 'is', and 'are'; For example:
  • He is tall.
  • I'm short.
  • She has medium-height
  • Juma has average- height
  • She is fairly tall.
  • I'm fairly short.

Things introduced in terms of colour are introduced by using verbs 'am', 'is', and 'are'; For example:
  • She has long hair
  • She has short hair
  • John has curly hair
  • She has red hair
  • He has dreadlocks

*Building/Weight of the body
Things introduced in terms of colour are introduced by using verbs 'am', 'is', and 'are'; For example:
  • My friend is very skinny.
  • She has slim body.
  • Her chubby body is not attractive
  • You have become so fat
  • This box is heavy.

Things introduced in terms of colour are introduced by using verbs 'am', 'is', and 'are'; For example:

Note: Almost everything can be described in terms of quality. Or it may be described in terms of other measures, but one important thing to remember is that things are not only described in terms of age, colour, etc.

Activity Two: By using the well-prepared coloured pictures and other pictures, the teacher uses pictures, people, things, and objects to describe various things both inside and the classroom.
Here are some examples:

  • This ruler is short. That ruler is long.
  • I prefer plastic ruler to wooden ruler.
  • Transparent ruler is great.
  • Your school bag is empty.
  • My chalks are white.
  • This board is black.
  • This book has blue cover.

Activity Three: Under the teacher's guidance, students will be guided to practice giving descriptions of things in terms of their quality within and outside classroom.
The students have to apply the skills introduced to them by the teacher. They can almost use the same expressions used by the teacher in his/her demonstrations, but the qualities of their things may be different.
The responses from students can be as follows:
*Within the classroom.
  • The walls of the classroom are white.
  • Chalks are white.
  • Board is black.
  • This duster is dusty.
  • The door is blue.
  • Juma's school bag is pink.
  • Your pencil colour is orange.

*Outside the classroom.
  • The teachers are smart.
  • Headmaster/Headmistress likes hardworking students.
  • The school library is packed with books.
  • Our laboratories are well-organised.
  • The school milling machine is blue in colour.

Activity Four: Here the students will be guided by the teacher to read a variety of texts and note down descriptions of things. A teacher should provide any text about description of things and ask students to note down the sentences that show description of things.

Text: Teacher’s Model
Describing Uncle Ben's Garden
Mike and Nicky are friends. One day, they had conversation on Uncle Ben's garden. Mike knows very much about Uncle Ben's garden, and this was their conversation.
MIKE: Last weekend, I went to my Uncle Ben's garden.
NICKY: Oh, yeah. I have been there too. What did you find this time?
MIKE: Oh, it was great as usual. I really enjoyed. And this time, the garden is well organized. Now it is evergreen with fresh air.
NICKY:  Wow! It's great!. What other things are in the garden?
MIKE: There are various amazing things. There are flourishing vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, potatoes, peppers, onions, yams and carrots.
NICKY: Really? I'm interested. I like vegetables. They are beneficial for the health. Did you take some of them?
MIKE: Yes, I did. We will eat some vegetables at dinner today. However, Uncle Ben's garden does not only grow vegetables, it also have good for health fruits like lemons, oranges, peas, mangoes, bananas, and avocados. His garden is really complete and beautiful.
NICKY: Did you take some fruits? You know, I'm quite crazy about fruits especially avocados and bananas!
MIKE: Yes, my Uncle is always a generous man. He is also planning to expand his garden and grow more vegetables and fruits. You know, fruits and vegetables are needed very much these days.
NICKY: Of course, they are in great demand nowadays. Next time, you should take me there too. I want to learn how to grow vegetables and fruits like your Uncle.
MIKE: No problem my friend.

Note: A teacher should now prepare some comprehension questions to guide students to be able to easily identify the descriptive words and understand the content:

Activity Four: Students' Practice Time. Teacher will ask students to write their own short texts to describe quality of things of their choice. To facilitate this writing activity, teacher asks students to be in pairs or groups, then ask them to write not less than sentences that show the description of things in terms of quality. This activity depends on teacher's choice. The teacher may ask students to write a text like the one provided above or ask them to write dialogues.

Activity Five: There are two options in this activity. First, students can exchange their works for their own assessment guided by the teacher, and second to present what they have written to the classroom boards for the rest of the class to see.

Adjectives of Quality
By definition, adjective is a describing word. It is the word that tells more about a noun, such as; fertile land, difficult question, my school. In these examples, fertile, difficult, and my are adjectives telling more about nouns; land, question, and school.

Adjectives of Quality are the adjectives that are used to describe the nature of a subject or a noun. They are also the adjectives that describe or show the kind or quality of nouns or pronouns. Some examples are:
Those formed from nouns are:
Gold – golden, as golden age, golden boot.
Power – powerful, as in powerful person, powerful animal.
Those formed from verbs are:
Please – pleasant, as in pleasant environment, pleasant smell.
Talk – talkative, as in he is a talkative person.
Use – useful, as in useful information.
Those formed from other adjectives are:
Red- reddish, as in reddish colour.
Just – justifiable, as in justifiable information.

Other Quality Adjectives are:
Opinions: hot, beautiful, pretty, handsome.
Colours: blue, brown, orange.
Time: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, hourly.
Material: cotton, silver, gold, diamond.
Touch: sticky, tasty, soft, loose, slippery, sharp, wet, stiff, solid, hard.
Origin: Latin, French, Tanzanian.
Shapes: spherical, round, flat, rectangular, curved, convex, triangular, vertical, horizontal.
Age: new, old, ancient, modern.
Feelings: upset, angry, glad, sweet, joy, ugly, happy, weak, foolish, tired, evil, proud.
Sizes: thin, small, big, large, huge, massive, great, fat, tall.
Qualities: good, nice, better.
Tone: sarcastic, loving, clever, political, annoyed, bitter, bold, happy, devoted, social.

Adjectives that are formed from proper nouns are also called Adjectives of Quality. These adjectives are like: Indian Ocean; Tanzanian Court; Swahili culture.

Students can be guided by the teacher to form various sentences by using this list of Adjective of Quality. A teacher may form any suitable activity for the students to get more interacted with these kinds of adjectives.

Ask students how they describe things to other people at home, neighbourhood, church, Town Street, or at school. For example, what expressions do they use when they describe something to someone else?
Also ask them how they describe people to other people. For example, what expressions do they use when they are describing someone to someone else who does not know how the person looks like?

The teacher should use relevant assessment tools like oral questions, drills, games, exercises, pair works, group works, and assignments so that to check if a student is able to describe things in terms of their quality.

Also, the students can be assessed in the following ways:

Assessment 01: Individual work
Ask students individually if they can describe things and people in terms of quality by using appropriate words that express quality of things.
This can be done by giving them various questions and check their responses in oral and in written forms.

Assessment 02: Pairs
Give students the task of describing things in terms of quality in pairs. This will improve their speaking and listening skills. This also helps students to interact socially with other students.

Assessment 03: Telling Descriptive stories
Also the teacher may give students in groups to tell very short stories while describing things in terms of quality.

Assessment 04: Matching items
Match the following items that express quality:


1.      Loose
2.      Clean
3.      Thick
4.      Soft
5.      Married
6.      Fast
7.      Wide
8.      New
9.      Dark
10.  Hot
11.  Smooth
12.  Straight hair
13.  Straight road

  1. Rough
  2. Crooked road
  3. Light
  4. Tight
  5. Thin
  6. Dirty
  7. Curly hair
  8. Hard
  9. Narrow
  10. Hard
  11. Single
  12. Cold
  13. slow

Game 01: Playing with word cards.
How to Play
A teacher may prepare some cards of various things. Then allow each student to come forward and pick up a card of his/her own, then he/she should describe the thing he/she has found in the particular card. These cards may include the common names and things such as: Hen, cow, goat, school, blackboard, school gazette, chalk, and the like. The student’s task is to describe the item he/she has picked by using appropriate words.

Note: If the class is large, students can be in pairs or even in groups. In this situation, a group picks a card, discuss it in 2 minutes, and the choose the one to present it by describing the particular item found in the card.

Give them the advantages of descriptive language and how it plays a great role in our life. Show them how important it is to have the ability of describing something to others in terms of quality.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.

This article is about how to study and teach "Talking about possession or ownership" in Form One. As a student or teacher, what is your opinion on how to study and teach this sub topic/lesson?
Your opinion is worth and I believe that it can make these materials better for our own consumption.
You are Welcome!



Title: “Form Two English Language Notes with Grammar, Exercises and Key Answers”
 1st (2022)
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