It's the Write Time

I absolutely enjoy teaching writing to my students. As a matter of fact, I encourage a variety of writing every day, cross-pollinating the curriculum all year long. There have been many times I have heard, “There is no time to write”; “I only write twice a week”, or “how do I include writing in all subject areas?”

Reading and writing go together, and you can’t teach one without the other. The Common Core expects our students to be able to respond to the text with writing. No matter the subject, our students must realize that what they read has a purpose. They must realize that every author has a style and an approach to their writing as well. When our students read, they are reading “writing”. Now it’s our turn to help them visualize the author’s purpose and apply their understanding with a written response. I accomplish this goal by creating various visual strategies and hands-on experiences using multiple visuals and props. It most definitely brings the teaching and learning to “life” and my students enjoy the creative elements as well. There are obvious challenges for a few children with some of the basic writing skills, but when we unleash the creative side of their journey through writing, my students begin to find their “voice” and become more confident readers and writers.

I have not only created different strategies for all learning styles, I have also inspired my students to have a “choice” in the process as well. They can work individually, with partners, and even in small and large group settings. They can use props to inspire collaboration and of course there is always time to pair- share and participate in presentations. All of this requires various genres of text, graphic organizers, art mediums, visuals such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, illustrations, calendar art and more. And yes, writing is at the center of it all.

“This doesn’t sound like writing”, one would remark, but it most definitely is. Reading and writing go together, and you can’t have one without the other. It’s time to try some new strategies/organizers and remember writing involves reading, researching, fact finding, elaboration, visualizing, critical- thinking, creating, expressing collaborating, and vocalizing. Give them the tools and I promise you, your teaching and their learning will come to life, one word, one sentence, one paragraph at a time.   


Posted on February 18, 2018 .

What is Visual Literacy the Write Way?


As a classroom teacher, I realize the importance of focusing on the parallels between art and the writing process. Often, we hear children ask,” Can I draw my story?” or say,” The story in my picture is.” “Children naturally integrate their learning and curriculum through moving back and forth between words and pictures” (Ernst, 1992). Typically, as children over time learn to read and write, picture making is pushed to the sides or delegated to the art room. However, children have a continuing need for experiences with both words and pictures as they venture through their own journey in literacy. The Art of Visual Writing recognizes all of this.

Children tend to write with very little detail when they have no prewriting activity to stimulate their descriptive writing process. These children need different ideas and techniques to help enhance their descriptive and informative writing. They need to experience the wonder of artistic expression and creation. Since writing was an area of difficulty revealed during my classroom teaching experiences, I have explored various visualization techniques/imagery, and use of graphic organizers that allow this personal pre-writing experience to be successfully crafted in each child’s written piece.  The Art of Visual Writing celebrates all of this

According to the Common Core, children must be able to use text types with purpose, understand production and research to build and present knowledge.  But, how do we do this? What exactly is good writing? How do we write, speak and present effectively? How can we successfully attain goals and benchmarks? How do visualization and common core graphic organizers and planners improve writing performance for all learning styles? The Art of Visual Writing addresses all of this

Several writing experts validate that the integration of art and visual imagery into the curriculum will help enhance student’s reasoning and problem-solving abilities, as well as assist them in adopting creative and social outlets for self- expression. Additionally, children will feel successful and motivated to create and use visual imagery while entering the writing process without fear of failure.  The Art of Visual Writing fosters all of this.

Visual Writing not only helps children connect with written and oral texts, it connects them to new ideas and experiences. All learning styles will benefit from this fresh hands-on approach to written expression. The quick visual techniques throughout this writing process will easily enhance narrative, expository, descriptive paragraphs and poetry. Visual writing will provide various pre-writing lessons to create an interactive atmosphere where writing topics that used to be unimaginative become more descriptive and exciting to read. Even the most reluctant writers and readers will quickly pick up their pencil and scratch the surface of their paper with their imaginative language.

Why Visual Writing? It is a springboard to ‘generate joy’ in learning and writing, develop critical thinking and help students communicate their feelings and imaginations. The Art of Visual Writing results have shown visualization techniques have improved writing scores and students are eager to publish and present their writing with enthusiasm and passion. Therefore, it is time to accept visual imagery as a valid pre-writing step in our writing process. It’s time to embrace The Art of Visual Writing with the Common Core & MORE!

Read more about Visual Writing Strategies for Primary Grades K-3

Posted on February 18, 2018 .

Why the Art of Visual Writing?

Do your students struggle with written or oral expression? Imagine bringing writing to life so every learning style is engaged, enriched, encouraged and expressed. What if writing is more than scratching the surface of a paper with the narrow tip of a pencil, but embellished with the broad strokes of a brush & highlighters, or enhanced by visual props, and empowered by one’s voice, one word at a time? The Art of Visual Writing fosters all of this.

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Students can write, but how we ensure the benefits to ‘writing and communicating,’ means framing our teaching into a visual and richer approach to meet unique differences. Many children needlessly struggle with writing because ‘the way they are taught is not how they learn’. That’s why visual imagery & scaffolding techniques not only allow a personal writing experience to be effectively crafted in each child’s written piece; they visually enter the writing process from a position of creative strength, individuality, while nurturing student choice. Now, the writing process is relevant, achievable, and fun for our life- long learners.

Those who struggle communicating with others are still expected to produce written, oral, and visual texts to express, develop, and validate ideas and experiences. But how do we do this? What is good writing? How do we write, speak and present effectively? How does visualizing or verbalizing improve literacy application for all learning styles? The Art of Visual Writing addresses all of this.

Experts confirm that integration of creativity and visual imagery into all curriculum enhances students’ risk-taking and problem-solving abilities, as well as assist them in adopting expressive strategies and rich vocabulary. Artistic techniques connect children with written and oral texts, new ideas and life-experiences. These quick techniques easily enhance every writing genre, cross-pollinating all subject areas. Project Based Learning & visual lessons provide an effective & interactive atmosphere. For example, painting & designing flowers, researching Georgia O’Keefe- a master floral painter, while researching the life cycle of plants & creating diagrams and infusing content vocabulary in nonfiction writing. Based on children’s interests, visual writing becomes more relevant, engaging, and applicable for all ages and abilities.

Visualization and tactile props have enhanced literacy-skills, scores, and children are motivated to publish and present their writing with passion and pride at Author Teas. Why Visual Writing? It stimulates creativity, engages all learning styles, and expands vocabulary, where children create self-choice and a voice, one word at a time! It’s time to embrace visual writing for ALL learning styles. .

Posted on February 12, 2018 .

Text Features and Definitions

It's that time of year for nonfiction; my favorite genre to teach my young scholars! (see mini text feature booklet) I have created large and mini nonfiction text feature cards (color-coded) for my groups to use prior to every ELA (English Language Arts) lesson taught for a week or so. Our first lesson was to join as a large group on the rug in a semi-circle, along with our own nonfiction book/magazine. I called out a text feature and we took turns identifying and raising our hands to share the example in our magazines/books,  as one child was called at a time to go to the center of the circle and find the large text feature card to match . We discussed the definitions aloud and enjoyed our scavenger hunt for sure. Every day now, table leaders  work with their groups to arrange and match the mini cards as quickly as they can while 3 students arrange the same large cards on the rug for fun. Each group leader asked an "I spy" question about a vocabulary word or definition and the kids practiced reading their matches aloud. Every one of my students can match and write their text features and are having fun doing it. I call this "props with a purpose"... You can find this activity at my store,  (mini text feature booklet)   Enjoy!

Posted on March 30, 2014 .

Visual Illustrations

Visual illustrations can be used for many writing genres. We recounted the story of the Great Ball Game weeks ago and one of the main characters was a bat. Instantly, we decided to focus on bats and mammals for science. We researched bats and wrote poetry and compared and contrasted them with other mammals... Then we discussed the importance of recounting the story, but beginning with a visual for inspiration. We sketched our pictures and then cut them into 3 parts. What a great way to show the parts of a story with a visual illustration. Check out for more ideas like this one to inspire your student's writing. They will love it!

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