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Use Pictures to Brainstorm Ideas


ELA: Writing ^21st Century Skills Elementary School Strategy


Flexible Thinking

Use Pictures to Brainstorm Ideas

If your student struggles generating ideas for writing

How To Apply It!

  1. Using pictures can help students generate ideas and organize content for writing a story.
  2. Writing a story requires conveying a natural sequence of events. Help students with organization or the abstract concept of time using pictures to develop a story.
  3. Let students create their story in pictures first. Keep each successive picture the same except for one key element. When students write, they explain the first picture in detail. Next they explain the one detail that changed in each subsequent picture.
  4. Students can draw their pictures or use digital drawing apps which make it easy to replicate a picture, erase a single element and then add a new one.
  5. Encourage students to use simple drawings (circles, squares, lines, arrows) so they focus primarily on what changes rather than the quality of the drawing.
  6. Comic book apps such as Pixton and Make Beliefs offer similar teaching opportunities. However, be cautious of students spending a lot of time creating their cartoons.
  7. Set expectations on how much writing is expected. How many sentences should go with each drawing.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Younger students and those with weaker executive functions often have difficulty with time management and organization. That same difficulty can translate to their writing. When students use pictures they can more easily visualize the progression of events so they can write about them in an organized way.