From Shared to Independent Practice: Drawing Lessons Continued

Last week we looked at a couple of students who were working on the visual plan and the use of drawing lessons. Let’s peek in and see how that work is coming along in the shared and independent practice of writing workshop.

This is Brianna’s work. Last week she was drawing pictures and coloring over top of them afterward, making it difficult for her to retell her story.

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This drawing above was about what she had for breakfast.

After some drawing lessons she is beginning to recognize that pictures are made of shapes, lines and curves. She is beginning to create these drawings more independently without me right next to her. Here is her story about going to her grandma’s house. I did a drawing lesson next to her and then walked away to see what she would do. She not only drew a picture of the house but also added some letters. She knows that words are suppose to go on the page and she is beginning to take a risk and add letters she knows as well as the word, “I.” My hope is that she will also take on some risks in her drawings and build even more independence.

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Joshua’s work has been very similar to Brianna. He was drawing a picture and drawing over top of the original drawing. This week he really wanted to write a story about pretending to be the teacher at math workstations in our “math corner.” He told me, “I want to draw half of the classroom but it will be too hard.” We talked about what he saw on the walls and in the area he was talking about. I did a drawing lesson of two parts and then set him off to go on his own. You can see that he added many details. He included himself, the calendar, our number of the day chart, shape charts and the number line above the board. He included furniture and even a pointer in his hand.

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Then we look at Graysen. You can see some of Graysen’s work from last week in this post. He is really beginning to take on some independence with his drawings and storytelling.

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Here he is drawing a picture of himself jumping on the trampoline. I did not do a drawing lesson this time with Graysen because I wanted to see if he had taken on the learning from the week before. It is clear to me now that he is beginning to move beyond needing a drawing lesson. He not only drew himself jumping on the trampoline but then went back and added the sky and grass, filling the page with his story.

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You may also notice he made several attempts to draw the trampoline and crossed them out. He is revising his picture. This was a great example for me to share with the class that when they don’t quite like how something turns out, they can just cross it out and move on, instead of coloring or scribbling circles and lines over the drawing. He is no longer feeling the frustration that he did last week and is becoming independent and confident in his abilities.

The lesson here is to never give up on these students who don’t seem to have the skills yet to do what we expect in workshop. It will take some work, but through individual instruction these three students are making great progress in both storytelling, drawing and they are all beginning to write letters to represent their stories. This was not because I told them to write words and letters on the page, but because they have seen a model of writing through mentor texts and my teacher models. These simple steps in the workshop don’t just fall into the air. They are processed over time and emerge when the child is ready to take the reigns and go out on his own.

I love watching this progress and encourage you to take a simple step forward with the students who are struggling in your classroom. Tap into those abilities and see what happens. It can sometimes surprise you and take students places they never knew they could go.