Using Picture Cards for Story Writing

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Although I’ve used WriteShop as my students have gotten older, my go to for writing in elementary school is based on consistent writing experiences and coaching. I keep my eyes open for helpful prompts and ideas.

I love to use Word/Story Cards when I give a writing assignment. It helps students to stay focused by knowing they have a word bank. Rather than a list of words, I like to give them a word card.

Today I thought about what other resources I could use with writing and I decided on a variant of the word card- the picture card. This time I gave the kids five picture cards from two different matching games and I asked them to write a story from them.

Blog She Wrote: Picture Story Cards

The library pocket delivery system just makes things a little more fun…sort of keeps the cards shrouded in mystery before they begin.

You can work it a few different ways:

  • You can give them words/cards that are related so they make a story by association right at the start.
  • You can pick the cards at random and see what they make from it.
  • You can choose words/cards related to the topic you want them to write about.
  • You can have them look at and lay out the cards ahead of time.
  • You can have them keep the cards in the envelope or face down and have them choose the card one at a time and make a sentence from it. This way can be a lot of fun.

Blog She Wrote: Picture Story Cards

I10 was given some animals cards that were related- lots of nocturnal animals here.

Bloh She Wrote: Picture Story Cards

He ended up with a story about a bat named I-Bat who visits his mentor the owl and has to conquer the venomous snake.

Blog She Wrote: Picture Story Cards

Obviously, he had these out and studied them as he created his story.

Blog She Wrote: Picture Story Cards

J7 was given some related an unrelated picture cards and came up with a cute scenario. He’s taken to wide ruled loose leaf paper over his second grade handwriting paper, but he’s holding his own- when he remembers to skip lines.

Blog She Wrote: Word Cards

Of course word cards work just as well. I’ve had my kids use them to write about a topic for both creative and informative writing.

The only thing I’d improve on this is to look for more complex pictures. I’d still want them to be simple representations, but it would be nice to move away from simple alphabet matching pictures. As I was looking through them, I realized the pictures might not produce an interesting narrative.

Still, this was a fun way to engage in consistency with writing and it will provide an opportunity for some grammar coaching and editing tomorrow.

What ways do you change up the writing process for your students? Please share with us in a comment.

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