Creating Visual Naratives

Ally started the day with the students masks displayed on the front table. As students walked in they were excited to talk about and try on their masks. I was happy to see them discussing their work but Tamara had to tell the students to put them down so she could take attendance and do other morning routines.


Ally began her lesson by reading the class “How to Train Your Dragon”, the students loved this; and each person gave Ally their full attention. Next, she showed them an example of her illustrated narrative. This was a nice touch because her work demonstrated what was expected in the upcoming assignment.

  After reading to the students Ally showed examples of drawing techniques students could use in the upcoming assignment. This was a good way to incorperate visuals into her instructions.

After Ally’s demonstration A did not seem overly anxious to begin the assignment. I asked, “What is your favorite comic A? Do you think you could draw something like that?” His eyes lit up because now the work was personal to him and be began working diligently.

One of the major successes of the day was Ally’s ability to incorporate work stations. During her preparation Ally covered one table with white butcher paper. It was to be used as the painting and plaster station. Students such as O who had missed one of the following class periods had an opportunity to finish up their masks while the rest of the class started their illustrative narratives.  Ally was able to juggle drawing, painting, and plaster all at the same.

C was really enjoying art class today, as she began working the whole class could hear her sing, “Purple, purple, purple! I am making purple!” Some students thought her singing was distracting so I approached her and said, “That is a nice purple C, what would happen if you added black to that purple?”  She replied, “It will make grey.” Then I asked,”Can you show me?”  This was a good way to encourage her excitement about the color purple while calming her down and asking her to focus.

While O painted her mask we had a good discussion about color. We talked about how colors have meaning. She said she wanted to make her mask blue like the sky. Then we talked about how A chose to use the color purple to represent that his mask was psychic. I asked her what the color red could mean. It can mean anger. But it can also mean love. We were able to come to the conclusion that not all colors have the same meaning for everyone, but all colors have meaning.

A’s comic book provided a teaching opportunity. I pointed out that A had used two Onomatopoeias. I was able to teach the students at his table a fun new word through discussion of A’s artwork. I also asked A to learn another new word and teach it to me next class.

Half way through the activity I noticed that E was not working. I approached him and asked him about his work. He told me that he had finished already. I told him that he needed to keep working. Then I said, “E you only get to take art class once a week so you should take advantage of all the time that is given to you.” This classic form of scolding really didn’t work so him so I decided to approach the problem from a new angle. “Instead of this assignment what would you rather be doing? I heard you talking about airplanes and aerodynamics this morning; do you think you could draw those things?”  He thought about it and then said, “yes but I will need blue paper.” He ran to the corner of the room to find the construction paper he wanted. Because of this discussion E unintentionally created the fourth workstation in the class room.

At first as other students began to build airplanes I questioned if this would become a behavior issue. Looking back on the issue now I am glad that Ally allowed the students to work on their planes. A, who is difficult to get involved in each lesson was very engaged in building planes and talking about aerodynamics with D and E. What good teacher would stop that conversation?


As usual, time flew by and the students filed out the door for recess.

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