Friday, July 1, 2016

Read, Write, and You...5 Star Illustrations

Why Illustrations are Important
One of the very first lessons that I teach my students in Writing Workshop is the importance of their illustrations.  We use the word illustrations over pictures because books have illustrators not picturers.  In first grade, our writing skills can sometimes be so limited at the beginning of the year, that we need to know that it is okay to tell a story through pictures.  We might spend some time looking at wordless books (that blog to come later), drawing stories just using illustrations, and really adding detail to illustrations help my students understand what a quality illustration might look like.

To help students self assess this, I have come up with the 5 Star Illustration check list.  It is a simple, student friendly check list to help them decide if they have put in enough details.
Download it free
In the beginning of the year we practice drawing backgrounds, details, more than one thing, using 5 colors, and coloring neatly.  The students love getting time to "color", while learning that our pictures in our writing are telling a story just as much as the words are.  These detailed illustrations carry into our science and social studies journals, and other work that we do in the classroom.  I also feel like it helps my first graders understand the importance of slowing down and doing detailed work instead of rushing through it.  Finally, it also sets up a foundation of self reflection and assessment during the very first days of school. A win all around.
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