Using Cards as Writing Visuals

                                                  It’s time to write about the visuals on cards. It’s time to describe the action seen and use your imagination to create a narrative story, poem, expository paragraph and more.  Brainstorming is a wonderful way to generate new and descriptive vocabulary. Leave on a chart for inexperienced writers to use. Try the same with verbs as well.    

Remember to allow the opportunity for your learners to write with an explanation 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 explaining specific directions.


This lesson can focus on various skills. When you are introducing the purpose of writing to explain, allow the children to draw on previous knowledge, as well as be inspired by the pictures. Try this activity every week and create a journal or a ‘how to’ booklet to collect this writing genre. 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 writing in sequence. A fun way to change-up this lesson would be to have a copy of their writing and cut directions into strips. Use the visual as an inspiration to help a partner place the directions in sequential order. This can be a fun workshop activity. Laminate the pieces and place in an envelope for storage.


Additionally, allow the children to highlight adjectives and verbs in different colors, identifying its proper use. Have them write synonyms and antonyms to increase their vocabulary, or even creatively use their explanations in poetic form. Perhaps they can take each sentence and elaborate them for practice.  You can also use this activity to enhance existing story topics. For instance, you may be reading about space, so allow the children to write about ‘how’ to be an astronaut. Perhaps they can create a sculpture of a space ship, use photographs, pictures or coloring pages of their topic. If you have stickers, try them to save time. Just illustrate the background. 


Remember, if time is a challenge, keep pictures or cards of animals, people, or places available, with or without a background for your students to use rather than spending time illustrating. If you have time to illustrate, try stencils to trace and add details as needed… ‘seeing is believing’.


Lastly, glue your work to colored paper and display illustrations or sculptures creatively. Share aloud with classmates. Collect the writing, create a bulletin board or put examples into booklets, and keep in a ‘how to’ basket to be shared by others in your classroom library.

Check for Visual Reading and Writing Activities for the Common Core and The Art of Visual Writing Book in my store for this lesson and more. All can be found at