Practical Fluency and Word Savvy. Max and I met while participating in a study group through The Literacy Connection a few years ago. I like listening to Max speak because he is a global thinker. Following Max's thinking and speaking is like a chat on twitter, great ideas flowing fast.
This year Max was speaking about Drawing. Drawing is at the heart of all writing if we encourage and allow it. I often think it's acceptable for emerging writers and then easy to be overlooked after that. Max began our session by sharing - "drawing starts by showing our students, teaching them how to look". Max starts with noticing by looking at shapes. This is a huge part of geometry in kindergarten and I love the connection to literacy. Max uses books the children love to read as mentor text; No David and Piggie and Elephant Series are a couple of ideas. He also says we have to reinforce sketching as a top to bottom act. He recommended using Eric Carle's book, Head to Toe as a reference point for helping children make the switch from bottom up to top down with drawing, number, and letter formation. As we have motor plans for letters or numbers Max has developed some key vocabulary to guide drawing. For example, "place a dot at the top, go around and connect." Here we would have a circle.
Max draws each day with his students, five to ten minutes. Students have sketch books or a dry erase board when they draw. Max doesn't like stick figures and gets students started at the beginning of the year with round figures which make it easier to show action. I loved this quote, "We need to pay more attention to details by paying attention to drawing action." Max spends time drawing spirals, sunshines, bubbles to show various ways to include details.
Max shared some great sketching vocabulary. How should we draw it? What shape do you see? Where will we start? Which way do I go? Read me your drawing? What was challenging? What will you work on? When you see students doing something you've talked about here is a smart Max comment, " I'm so happy you have taken responsibility for your own learning."
Then as in true Max fashion I will leave you with some global thinking.
-Phonics have become too dominate.
-We've gotten away from shared learning - shared reading and shared writing.