Using Illustrations with Kidblog

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Bring blog posts to life

When teaching elementary students the art of writing stories, we often share picture books as a way to introduce the magic of storytelling.  Illustrations provide the early writer with visions that later words will create as their writing experiences increase.  Young writers begin learning the storytelling process through interpreting others’ illustrations. Naturally, they will begin to add drawings to their own stories as a comfortable first step in their own writing process.

Teachers often require young students to draw their work before putting words to the sequencing of their stories, as drawing helps promote continuity and detail in their writing.  When typing or blogging, however, this step is often overlooked or eliminated.  I have found that my students still have the desire and need to illustrate at times while blogging, and when provided with the opportunity to use technology to illustrate, a multimedia experience comes to life beyond their usual crayon and marker illustrations.

Graphic art

While there are sophisticated art applications available to students online, even a free and accessible program such as “Paint” works well. My third grade students have used this program to create original illustrations for poetry and stories, and have enjoyed using this familiar and recreational program for a specific purpose.  Using “Paint” for creating illustrations on Kidblog allows students to add original illustrations to their blog posts by saving and uploading their creations to share with their blogging community.  Make no mistake; this is no easy task!  Those of us who are old enough to remember grinding out rudimentary pictures on an Etch-a-Sketch will appreciate the time and patience students take to make sure their illustrations are as high quality and meaningful as the blog posts they write!

Metaphors and imagery

One of my favorite examples is when my group of gifted third grade readers studied the classic Carl Sandburg poem “Fog”.

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After a discussion on metaphors and imagery, each student illustrated and wrote their own interpretation of the use of imagery as part of a Kidblog blogging assignment. They were astonished, to see how one short poem could be interpreted by so many students in so many different ways! The written blogs alone showed great variety of thought and interpretation, but the addition of their original illustrations really drove the point home. It also allowed students who are visual learners to incorporate their learning style of choice when working with technology.

Using illustrations as part of their blog posts increased students’ understanding of the original poem, and added the element of an additional medium to their blogging experience. Students were then able to compare and contrast their own writing and illustrations with those of their virtual Kidblog classmates and comment on both their original writings and illustrations. Incorporating the opportunity to illustrate while blogging adds another dimension to the creative writing experience that using Kidblog promotes.

About the Author
Mrs. A. is an elementary gifted education specialist in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She teaches 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the areas of language arts and math. Mrs. A. has been teaching and advocating for gifted students and their parents for 22 years, and is a parent of two gifted adult children. Mrs. A. loves to travel and learn about different countries and cultures, bicycle and hike with her husband, and photograph the antics of her Labrador retriever, Porkchop.

4 comments

  1. Margaret Simon

    That illustration was amazing. I’ve used paint with my gifted students before, but I agree that it can be frustrating. I’d love to hear more about how you get students over the perfectionism factor.

    • Marcia Armbruster

      Thanks for your comment! Getting gifted kids to work past their perfectionism in any area is always a challenge, as I’m sure you know from experience. I was amazed at how well most of my classes’ illustrations turned out. I think because the students really enjoyed adding these illustrations to their blog posts they were willing to commit more time to making them just right. That’s a big reason why I want students to enjoy what they do and want to share that feeling with others through the blogging community.

  2. stepherd

    I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

    • Marcia Armbruster

      Thanks so much! I really appreciate your input!

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