The question is often asked of Kindergarten teachers, ‘How do you teach Writing’? After a few years of trying different methods and writing programs, I finally found something that works for me and my students! Today I am sharing ideas on Teaching Guided Drawing to Beginning Writers and/or Kindergartners. I hope you find something today that inspires you and you try it in your classroom!
This year I started the school year off with a drawing journal for each of my students, instead of a writing journal. The drawing journals are just blank books from the Target dollar spot and have about 16 pages in them, which is perfect for what I am using them for. The books are also smaller in size, which seems to help beginning drawers/writers.
The very first ‘writing’ lesson that I taught was drawing a self portrait. I made several anchor charts to go with each step.
Together as a whole group we talked about face shapes and styles, along with hair styles.
I modeled drawing just my face, with the important details and them gave them their brand-new drawing journals to complete their own self-portrait.
The next day, I talked about using shapes to create a person or character’s body. Again, I made an anchor chart and modeled my own picture. On this particular day, it’s okay if they make their ‘person’ hang out in space. We haven’t taught setting and how to ground a character yet! 🙂
So now that we have learned about using shapes to draw faces and bodies for characters, as well as add important details, now we are ready to move on to setting and ‘grounding’ the characters. I use the HeidiSongs Parts of a Story song to help teach my kids’ character and setting. If you don’t have this Language Arts DVD, you need to get it! The song is catchy and my students really get an understanding of the different parts of a story!
I introduce setting with an anchor chart and we talk about certain books we read that day or week and talk about the setting of each story.
We talk about different types of settings and then as a class, we talk about the best setting to draw, along with a picture of ourselves as the character. This year my class chose a park setting, so we talked about what it looks like at the park and the details we might want to include in our setting picture. Next, I talk to them about ‘grounding’ their characters and setting. Essentially, this means NO PEOPLE hanging out in space, unless you are flying!;-) We talk about how people or trees or cats, don’t hang out in the middle of the air and how gravity keeps us from floating away. (A little extra Science.) Then each student went back to their table and drew them self at the park.
As you can see on the other page, the next day we used fish as our ‘characters’ and made the setting a lake.
I strongly recommend building these drawing skills and incorporating the parts of a story daily! Practice, practice, practice!!
Next up is one of my most favorite ideas to use when ‘writing’ and drawing about characters and settings!! I printed out character cards for each student in my class. We talk about each character and what setting we might find that character in. My students love this activity!
Next, I pass out the various character pictures and the students glue them in their drawing journal and draw the setting to match. This activity is great, since it still allows students to use creativity in creating their setting.
You can see that the horse was the character and she created a farm as the setting.
Princess in a castle.
A ‘school girl’ walking into school. See her in the parking lot?! LOL!
One of the few characters we allow to ‘float’ in the sky.
This little one told me that her snowmen are in snow houses and that the blue is snow falling down. I just love their minds and creativity!
And because I want to showcase all abilities, this is one of my little ones that struggles with fine motor, but you can clearly see he has other snowman friends in his picture!
We are 3 weeks into school and this is where my kinders are at in their writing. Next up, is teaching labeling and then moving on to simple sentences. But I will save that for another post. So be not dismayed…drawing is IMPORTANT to writing and is the fundamental basics to learning to create a story! Please let me know what you use to teach writing in your classroom or if you plan to try guided drawing to teach beginning writers!