In this case the classroom teacher, Suzanna Pinette - 2nd grade, had her students draw a picture of a snowman on plain white paper. After the students created their drawing, they were to write a detailed description of their snowman, keeping in mind that the more detailed their description was, the better chance that whoever was going to draw the picture would be able to recreate the snowman by reading the description. Then Ms. Pinette mailed the descriptions to her twin sister who also teaches second grade. Each student in the other second grade class received a description and tried to recreate the snowman according to the description they were given. Next both classes took part in a video chat where a teacher read descriptions and students compared the snowmen from the two different classrooms. Students learned that the better the description, the closer that the two snowmen looked alike. In some cases there were three snowmen, since the number of students from each classroom is not the same.
The next step for these two classrooms is for the students from the opposite class to write a descriptive writing piece and do a role reversal. Paying closer attention to details each time the students engage in this project will allow students to get a better sense of descriptive writing.
Other teachers have done this type of project with jack-o-lanterns, Christmas ornaments, monsters, etc. This wonderful descriptive writing challenge can really be used in about any setting to fit with current curriculum or fun around different holidays. Other options are to use an art app on an iPad and create the artwork via technology. Descriptions could be typed up in a doc and sent via email rather than snail mail. This project could also be done real time using apps like BaiBoard. There are many many possibilities with the technology we have available to us.