Painting a Story with Words!

Friends~We have been using our Patricia Polocco books this week as mentor texts for our narrative writings in Writer's Workshop.  We have spent many mini lessons focusing on vivid words and how they can bring a story to life.  We read the book Hairy, Scary, Ordinary by Brian P. Cleary.  My students always love this book and get a huge kick out of the illustrations.  It is perfect for introducing adjectives to young learners. 

We spent tons of time this week reading and rereading our writings to make sure there were great adjectives to bring our stories to life.  
I told the class that writers paint our visualizations with their words. This can be a very hard concept for students because they have their own visualization going on in their mind while they write.  It is difficult to remember to paint it on the page too.  

I decided that I needed to model this with my class.  The first thing I did was to tell my class a simple small moment from my life.  I asked a student to come up front and sketch their visualization   I purposely gave little description.  We then looked at the illustration and generated questions about the illustration.  
I retold the story and another student came to add to the visualization in another color.  I asked them to do this so they could see when I added more description,  the illustration became more vivid. 

  I then challenged them to do the same.  I buddied them up and sent them off to read their favorite part of their story.  I had them sit back to back and sketch what the reader was saying.  They took turns and then exchanged papers.  I then instructed the students to look over their illustrations.  They added more detail with colored pencils.  
I asked the students to then look at their stories again and add to the part they read.  Using the illustration to guide them.  What they drew in color told them how to extend their story so they were able to paint everything they wanted their readers to know.
Watch them in action!

It was really interesting to hear them discussing the illustrations with each other.  They were a bit disappointed that their partners did not create as vivid of an illustration as they wanted but it was a great for them to see how important word choice is.  

Grab a copy of the poster that will be hanging in my Writing Center on Monday!
Click the poster below to download:)



  1. This poster is the bomb diggity bomb! I am printing and laminating as we speak. Thank you for this splendiforous way to jazz up our writing.

  2. Your adjective poster is great! What a great comparison that is easy for our kiddos to understand! Thanks for sharing!

    :) Tamra and Sarah
    First Grade Buddies

  3. This is brilliant in every way! Thank you!


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