Silhouette Visuals

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    Sometimes a visual helps the writer to formulate his/her ideas in sequential order  whether they are retelling a story or writing a new one. For example, this pre-writing visual will create a  rich vocabulary to ‘draw’ from. 

Other Ways to Use This Lesson: Silhouette Visuals

Remember to allow the opportunity for your learners to write with a purpose in mind.  Let them see the picture before they write. Train them early to ‘visualize’ and see the details or understand the reasons why they believe what they are writing.

This lesson can focus on various skills. When you are introducing Big Ideas, small moments, main topics, supportive thoughts or descriptive sentences, allow the children to draw on previous knowledge, as well as be inspired by the pictures. Try writing with collages every week and create a journal to collect genre as a class book and share in the classroom library. This activity can give you an on-going progress assessment as well.

Additionally, you can use this activity every week for practice along with reinforcing various topics throughout the year (all you need is a visual). You can also use this activity to enhance existing reading/writing programs. For instance, you may be reading about nature, so allow the children to create a picture inspired by nature. Then, coordinate the writing based on your objectives.

Moreover, allow the children to highlight adjectives and verbs in different colors, identifying its proper use when their writing is complete. Perhaps the children can use their sceneries to inspire their writing about settings or focus on a retell, main topics, as well as topic sentences.

Of course, you can also use non-fiction books/pictures to inspire factual/informative writing. This is a great time for a mini lesson on paragraph writing, research, and main ideas.

The children can create a class collage together. Inspire them to write a whole class narrative or poem ‘in the round’. Each student participates by offering one elaborative sentence each, thus, building on the sequence of events or descriptions. Allow time for discussion and encourage the class to work together. The class can copy the story or poem and it can be printed as a final copy if done on the computer or smart board. Attach to colored paper, embellish, and display as desired.

The class can also focus on particular words when their writing is complete. Have them write synonyms and antonyms to increase their vocabulary, or even creatively use their ideas for analogies. Perhaps they can take each sentence and elaborate them for practice.  You can also print the class story and cut the sentences into strips and use to put in sequential order. You can also use the sentence strips as sentences to diagram. Have the children pick-apart the sentence, labeling the parts for practice.

Recreate a story illustration or non-fiction picture with pre-made animal or object cut-outs to inspire riddles.  Use a picture to generate ideas and descriptions about the scene without giving all the information away. End the paragraph with a question and see if other kids can answer the riddle. You will be amazed at the various responses and ideas they will write about the same visual.

Another way to use their scenery is to create a main character out of scraps and glue on top of the background. This visual will be a great inspiration for character development and focusing on the main character. You can glue the existing picture to a larger piece of colored construction paper, leaving a framed-edge. Either type or write words or phrases that describe the main character along the frame.

If you want to be more creative, try using stencils, foam paper, pre-printed pattern paper, pre-made animal shapes or stickers to create a subject/character to be glued on top of the scenery. The ideas are limitless.

 Share aloud with classmates. Create a bulletin board, collect the writing and include in your classroom library.    All can be found at