Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Kate Messner's Teachers Write Camp

6/25 Mini Lesson

Monday Mini-lesson connecting Art and Writing is courtesy of Ruth McNally Barshaw, who wrote the Ellie McDoodle series.

Ruth shares some background:

"Art Literacy is the concept, now borne out by studies (see some background and research links athttp://www.picturingwriting.org/), that the act of creating art improves subsequent writing.  When you draw – even doodle – it changes your thinking so that richer writing results.
The best part is you don’t have to be a trained illustrator to do it. This works for everyone. Surprisingly, stick figures work just as well as the most beautiful, intricate painting….Storyboarding is used in advertising for developing commercials, and in filmmaking. Limiting them to 6 or 8 small boxes for the entire story prevents minutia or perfectionism from creeping in. It solidifies pacing and focuses cause and effect."

Then Ruth directs us to:

-Close your eyes. Visualize the character you want to write about. Then draw what you see in your mind’s eye, your imagination.

-To add depth to the drawn character, add callouts to describe various personality and physical traits. Brainstorm negative as well as positive traits, for a more rounded character.

-Start a story with your character.

My Character:

My Story:

We just wondered where all the water came from in the lake. Now we were packing spoons, buckets, shovels, and spray bottles into the van, headed to the beach.

This is great because its about 102° outside. We've slathered ourselves in sunscreen, and brought plenty of water plus string cheese, raspberry jelly, peanut butter, and bread.

Gramma Mosey slid her fingers through her mousy brown hair, which always was a bad hair day, but she didn't really care. She always said, "It's people in person not people in looks that matter."

Five cousins tumbled out of the Gramma Van and set up our site. Everyone took a sip of water and had a string cheese.

Then Gramma Mosey said, "Look around us and think beyond us; what will we see?"

We imagined, "Mountains, streams, rivers, the dam, and our town."

"OK. Let's dig."

We built the mountains and the dam, we scooped up sand dropped it into mounds, adding sticks and flowers, boulders and cliffs. We created a the river and the dam.

Then we added water. We squirted rain in the mountains. We watched the rain form streams and flow into our river. We dug down to the water table.

We added food coloring and watched pollution pollute our world.

Annie cried, "Jord ruined it. Look what he did to the boulder."

"Make it work -- look what happened," Gramma said to calm Annie.

Jord's moved boulder had created a new river. Now we all added catastrophe, including flooding below which caused a landslide slip into the lake.

All the while, Gramma Mosey encourages us and asks us questions. She adjusts her stripped purple, aqua, and white swimsuit as she adds more sunscreen; making sure we're all protected. She asks Mari what she wants to add to our project to make sure everyone is involved. She expects Ali to hold back to let the others think and add too.

Eventually, she rested in her chair and let us take over, including making our own sandwiches. Gramma needs to lose weight, but at least we get to solve our question and swim on this hot day.


Your Turn:  Draw your character and start a story. Share a link here.