Thursday, November 15, 2012

Listen, draw, and learn

If you've ever thought about having your kids draw pix to visualize, but wondered if it was worthwhile, read on......

I decided to try the art of visualization with my English Language Learners during a read aloud. We were completing the last chapter of The One and Only Ivan, and I wanted to make sure the students truly understood what was happening.
We had tried random sketches before, which engaged them, but some of their work showed that they weren't drawing the part of the story that we were actually listening to...
So, time for different scaffolding.

Here is what we did:
1. They folded their papers into 6 sections.
2. As I read aloud, I stopped every couple of pages at pre-determined points and, as a group, we discussed what had happened.
3. We then discussed how we might visualize those events/ thoughts.

4. We did the first one together, as I sketched on my own paper, too.
(I debated doing this, as I sooo wanted them to make their very own visuals, but then I thought of how I felt when I first started practicing visualizing myself. It was HARD to do, and I used to look at books to get ideas. Only then did I feel confident enough to try it on my own!)
5. We continued this, with scaffolded discussion, and talking about appropriate visuals...but...
6. ...within the span of 6 sketch frames, they seemed to get it because they were envisioning their own ideas, and were able to express their thoughts independently, in both words and pictures.

Once we finished with the visuals my students did a quick retell with partners, before sharing with the group.
Along with practicing presentation skills, this helped further demonstrate their comprehension levels.
As you can see, visualizing and writing a brief description of each picture was the focus--rather than perfect grammar.

This all happened within a 30 minute class period.

If you haven't tried visuals with your kids, obviously I would encourage it!! Even a little bit can be very telling for you and very engaging for them!!

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