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What To Do If Your Students Only Want to Draw During Writing

In today’s video, we delve into a crucial question that many educators grapple with: What do I do if my students seem more inclined to draw than to write during designated writing time? This is a common challenge, especially in primary education when students are still developing their writing skills. As an experienced educator, I’m here to share some valuable strategies to address this issue and guide your students on a journey towards becoming proficient writers.

This content can be accessed in video form by clicking below!


Embrace Drawing

First and foremost, it’s essential to recognize that drawing is a legitimate form of expression, especially for young learners. Many educational standards, particularly for kindergarten students, encourage them to express their thoughts not only through words but also through illustrations. Illustrating is a complex cognitive task that goes beyond simple doodling. It involves attaching meaning to drawings, making it a valuable skill to nurture. See the taxonomy chart below and locate illustrations and note that it’s not at the lowest levels of thinking! 

Provide Illustration Strategies

To support students in transitioning from random drawings to meaningful illustrations, it’s crucial to offer them specific strategies. One effective approach is teaching them how to draw people and detailed settings. For instance, I recommend using resources like Art for Kids Hub’s “How to Draw a Person” video, which can be slowed down for students to draw along. Additionally, consider dedicating time to teach illustration strategies, fostering the development of this valuable skill. I have an entire unit dedicated to illustrating strategies that you can see her. 


Introduce the Magic Line Concept To Improve Drawings 

The concept of the magic line, as illustrated in my book “Alpert,” can be a game-changer. This strategy helps students overcome the intimidation of a blank sheet of paper by drawing a single line to divide it into a ground and backdrop. The book guides them through different settings, demonstrating how the magic line can transform a simple line into a detailed illustration. Utilize this method to help students grasp the importance of incorporating details into their drawings.


Connect Drawing to Writing 

Once students have a strong foundation in drawing, the next step is to connect it to writing. Encourage them to assign letters and sounds to their illustrations. Start by having them label different elements in their drawings and gradually progress to constructing sentences. Model the process of saying a sentence, counting words, drawing blanks, and listening for sounds – a step-by-step approach that reinforces the link between drawing and writing.

Consistent Modeling and Celebration

 Consistency is key in reinforcing these strategies. Model each step of the process regularly, ensuring students understand the expectations. Celebrate their achievements with genuine enthusiasm, creating a positive atmosphere around the integration of drawing and writing. The more excited you are, the more likely students will adopt these practices as part of their writing routine.

 In conclusion, addressing the challenge of students primarily drawing during writing time involves embracing their artistic expression and guiding them towards meaningful illustrations connected to writing. By providing strategies, consistent modeling, and celebrating their progress, educators can empower young learners to become confident writers. Remember, drawing is not a hindrance but a valuable tool in the journey towards proficient writing. 


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