Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pictures are Worth 1000 Words and Are Free

We began our " How will we find out about trains?" today.  I have a wonderful DVD that I picked up at Toys R Us about 4 years ago on the clearance rack for $2.99.  Don't you just love bargains?  I did a google search and it is still available online and in stores. There are many other DVD's for children about trains.  You can also look on Teacher Tube and You Tube.

Since we are  building a cardboard train for our classroom to take a  ride on the "Polar Express" next week, I set up this DVD as a writing opportunity to plan the design of our train. I gave each child a clipboard, blank piece of paper, and a pencil.  I told the children they could use pictures, words, or both to record what they saw that would help us make a train.  It is a great strategy to get them organizing, planning, and writing for a purpose.  Here are some of their writing samples.  

Relies on Words to Help Organize Thoughts
Organizes Paper Like a List
Phonetic Spelling and Conventional Spelling
Specific and Higher Level Vocabulary

Organizes Information with Pictures
Labels a Picture with "Big" for Emphasis
Looking at the Big Picture of the DVD
Includes Tracks, Conductor, Clothes, Seats

Organizes with Pictures and Labeling
Draws Details of Trains and Box Cars
Meaningful Vocabulary Conductor and Tickets

Organizes with Pictures and Labeling
Very Detailed Drawing of the Train and Track
Some Labeling of Pictures
Conductor Was Mentioned on Most Papers

Organizes with Pictures and Words
Labels Pictures Phonetically and
with Conventional Spelling Patterns

Organizes with Pictures and Words
Draws the Different Types of Trains
Shown on the DVD

Organizes with Words and Boundaries
Phonetic Spelling Mixed with
Conventional Spelling

Organizes with a Traditional Numbered List
Detail Oriented with Specific Vocabulary
Uses Both Phonetic Spelling and Conventional Spelling

Organizes with Detailed Pictures and Some Labels
Main Focus is on the Different Types of Trains

To sum up the strategy for today's blog:  You don't need expensive paper with fancy borders or a themed set to draw or record on.  White plain paper can be a powerful tool.  Let your students fill it up with their own meaningful words and drawings.  A writing sample that includes pictures, words, or both can give you great insight into your students' organization level, planning, and conventions of spelling. A picture is worth a thousand words and a great snapshot into your young students' emergent writing.

Tomorrow:  Drop back by.  A problem that was heard over and over again today was, "I can't draw a train."  How did we solve this problem?  We found a great site on the Internet with "How to Draw a Train" step-by-step directions.  I can't wait for you to see their artwork.  Sometimes children just need anchor supports to be successful.  Even their teacher was able to draw a train.  And I was pretty excited about that!!!

Here are more posts on the Polar Express and Trains:

Polar Express KWHL Chart Trains

Polar Express Drawing Trains

Polar Express Drawing Modern Trains

Polar Express Train Completed Project

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