We’re reading Number the Stars in Interactive Read Aloud right now. The kids love the book, even though they’re disgusted with the way the Nazis treated the Danish Citizens in Copenhagen. Hence, after reading Chapter Seven today, I asked them to spend some time depicting the most disturbing scene or the scene that made them the angriest on paper. As you’ll see from these work-in-progress images, they did exactly that.
It became quickly apparent that many of my students were depicting scenes where the Nazi Soldiers were tormenting the Annemarie and Ellen (either on the street or in the apartment). Therefore, the question arose about what they should do with the swastika. They wanted to show the Nazis in the drawing, but didn’t want to offend me, or anyone else, who might see the drawings. That’s when A, one of my students raised her hand and said, “Maybe those kids should write a sentence or two, on their drawing, about their picture so people won’t get angry.” (WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT!???! AFTER ALL, WRITING OFTEN ACCOMPANIES ART AND CLARIFIES VISUALS.) I loved A’s idea and announced it to the entire class, who decided it was brilliant too.
By the end of the period, nearly all of the students, regardless of the picture they drew, decided to write an explanation of the scene they drew with their words.
Combining the art and the writing was a great idea; one that we’ll likely revisit at the end of Number the Stars, when I have them create a picture of the most memorable scene. I will remember what A reminded me of today and will have the kids do some writing to accompany their pictures.
I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).
I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.