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Monday, July 2, 2012

Chapters 1-2

Chapter 1 Why Illustration Study Matters to the Development of Young Writers
Visual grammar- now there's a term! Love it! (pg 2)
I previously read Ray's About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers. She constantly reminded me to consider all of the decisions our young writers were making & the actual sophistication of these decisions. Page 3 of In Pictures and In Words reminds me yet again to be aware of the decisions Clay made when he "carefully constructed a page where the reader can lift the flps to see the bat hanging upside down in a hanging position during the day and in flight during the night." Yet another sophisticated decision was made when he traced "his hand to show a close-up of the watch on the wrist, and when he used a graph showing the relative danger of the black widow."

Something I am looking foward to this year is watching my kindergarteners' writing stamina grow. It is amazing how they go from barely drawing a picture that makes sense to writing entire books by the end of the year. I am so excited to watch them grow! I love how Ray says (pg 3) that " I also see into his future, and I know when he is sixteen or twenty-six, or however far I want to look, being an effective communicator will involve getting words down on paper, but it will involve so much more than that --just as it involves more than that for him now, when he's six." Imagine, being able to see a kindergartener's future just by witnessing their writing grow. I love it!

Picture Book Making as a Template for Playful Exploration
Just the heading already has ideas exploding from my mind! I recently came across a pin on Pinterest:
 Pinned Image
I want to create something like this picture for students to use in conjunction with their writing. Perhaps, they can write a story telling me where their little person or car went: First, I went to the store, then I crossed the railroad tracks, finally, I parked my pink car in front of my blue house. I want to use this playful exploration to help my writers build stronger sentences using adjectives, time sequence words, and chronological order. Funny how I was thinking cars & the quote from pg 10 says, "Play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, & social competence." Since the beginning of writing is all about making picture books for kindergarteners, I think the car activity will help the students picture objects & actions that they can actually draw & add words to as they are able as their fluency progresses. I think this will also guide them through their process decisions. 

"They are not drawing instead of writing..." (10) As a kindergarten teacher, I love the fact that this book points out the strengths of teaching into & out of illustrating. Children learn through so many modalities that if we are forcing them to choose one or choosing for them, we are limiting them.  Allowing them to expand on their illustrations with great detail helps them read their writing back to me although they aren't exactly sure what they wrote with their invented spellings. Allowing my kids to use illustrations as prewriting is definitely something I need to incorporate more! This year with our books of writing, I had them write a story & then illustrate. This is exactly backwards & I'm so glad to be reading this book so that I can help my kids become better writers! It is only logical that illustrations & words should be  valued equally considering various learning styles (kinesthetic, visual, auditory, etc...).

Chapter 2 Building Stamina for Writing by Supporting Childrens Work as Illustrators
Stamina there is something high on my Christmas wishlist!
"No points for drawing on most standardized tests." (19) Now there is a valid point! We are taught to teach to all of the intelligences/learning styles etc...but students are not assessed based on their strengths!
As an adult, it is very easy for me to take for granted the things I know how to do. I forget that at some point in my childhood, I was taught to sit in a chair, pay attention, concentrate on what sounds letters make...These are all part of building stamina in our young writers. Not only that but now onto writing. We expect them to make something out of nothing & they are given little to go on. The poop scooping references are just too funny but sadly true...worksheets are nothing more than mundane tasks that point the student in the clear direction we want them to go...just like handing them a shovel & asking them to pick up dog poop or handing them an iron & a shirt. It is very clear what is expected of them & the end is visible. These tasks require no higher order thinking. This isn't so with writing! Writing could arguably be considered a semantic is doing is something you hold in your hand but the vision is very abstract...In writing, students determine their forward motion. Allowing them to alternate between illustrating & writing helps build stamina. Illustrations can be used to help them see their forward motion & the direction their writing needs to go.

I love this quote from page 21,
"Writing is the act of motion. Writing is the commitment to move forward, not to stew in our juices, to become whatever it is we are becoming, Writing is both the boat and the wind in the sails. Even on the days when the winds of inspiration seem slight, there is some forward motion, some progress made. The ability to show up brings with it the ability to grow up. (The Writer's Life, Julia Cameron 2001, 96)

I love the line about the boats & wind in the
I thoroughly appreciate how it is pointed out that it is OKAY for students to write on the same topic again...and that although the teacher may see it as "obsessive", it really isn't & most times the writer extends the topic.

Something I want to incorporate is the date stamp. This is a wonderful idea to promote self-monitoring & metacognition.

OOPS I almost forgot the guiding questions!
How might you explain to students that illustrating is composing?
I would remind them that they make the same decisions during drawing pictures that authors do during writing. They have to think, prewrite/draw, revise, edit, etc...

How might your attitude towards writing affect your students’ willingness to write? Showing excitement will create excitment. Showing that I value the time & effort they put in will make them more willing.

How might you help students build stamina in their writing? Start in short increments.

What language might you use with your students talk about reading like a writer, both as a writer of words and pictures? I would use words like vision, captions, character, setting, plot, sequence of events...

Name several books (not previously mentioned in this text) you would gather for your classroom’s units of study on illustration. Anything by Eric Carle of course, Scholastic books have excellent pictures as well! This is one of my favorites-Me With You! It is easy to relate to- readers can plainly see this is a dad & daughter who do things together, experience various emotions, etc...the pictures are wonderful & don't require words.

Another of my absolute favorites is Good Dog Carl.
 It has a small amount of text at the beginning of the book but none throughout the rest of it. I used this with my kids during our study of captions. The actions of the baby & Carl were so evident, anyone could create a story based on the detailed pictures. :)


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