by Rebekah Lonon with Karen Wood and Thomas DeVere Wolsey
This is the third in a three-part series exploring conversation and collaboration opportunities using digital tools. Rebekah Lonon describes how she uses “talking drawings” to promote academic discussions in her classes and explains how she uses the Educreations digital tool with her students.
My second-grade students enjoy using the talking drawings strategy regularly in all content areas. I always begin by having the class close their eyes and imagine a mental image of a word or concept. Once they open their eyes, they immediately draw the image they made in their minds. This gives me great insight into their prior knowledge of the topic, and it helps me tailor my instruction for the coming unit. I recently used this strategy to introduce a unit about properties of matter, and I learned that my students associated the word “matter” with something being wrong (“What’s the matter?”). I knew then how my unit needed to be planned.
When it is available for our use, I like to incorporate a digital tool. In this case, I used www.educreations.com because it provides an online venue for creating related drawings. Educreations is also available as an app for mobile devices. After their initial drawings, students independently read a passage, entitled “Why Does Matter Matter?” by Kelly Hashway (n.d.) from the website http://www.superteacherworksheets.com about the states of matter and then they discussed their drawings and thoughts with a partner. Next, they returned to Educreations to create a new drawing, based on their new knowledge. If technology is scarce, students can create their drawings in pairs or small groups, using paper with Crayons or markers. To reflect on what they learn and, as a means of integrating writing with the reading and drawing process, I always ask them to compare their original and after reading drawing. In this instance, one partner group exclaimed aloud, “Matter DOES matter!” as they drew examples of each state of matter. Another partner group continued their reflection process as they wrote in their journals. Seeing their developing knowledge when using this strategy is an effective assessment tool for me.
View the video to hear Rebekah explain talking drawings using Educreations.
Hashway, K. (n.d.). Why does matter matter? [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/matter/matter-article_WMTBN.pdf
McConnell, S. (1992/3). Talking drawings: A strategy for assisting learners. Journal of Reading, 36(4), 260-269.
Wolsey, T.D., Wood, K., & Lapp, D. (in press). Conversation, collaboration, and the Common Core: Strategies for learning together. IRA e-ssentials series: What’s New?Newark, DE :International Reading Association.
Wood, K. D., & Taylor, D. B. (2006). Literacy strategies across the subject areas. (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
About the contributors:
Rebekah Lonon teaches 2nd-grade for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina
Karen Wood is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.