Teaching Visualizing in First Grade - FREEBIE

Hi friends! I'm here to share a freebie with you!

How do you like to teach visualizing to your students? Most of us like to read a picture book full of rich, descriptive language and ask students to draw the mental images they create while listening to the book. Since I wanted to keep my mini-lesson brief and focused, I recently used a poem instead. Why not?

I read a simple poem about a farm; it was only two lines. (No, we aren't studying the farm- I just knew most of them have schema for a farm (it's important to think about what students already know, especially your EAL/ESL students) and would be able to visualize that kind of setting.) I read it the first time (without showing the picture, of course!) and asked students to listen for understanding. They said, "That's it?" Yup, it was short. That's why I chose it!

The second time I read the poem, I asked students to close their eyes and imagine what was happening in their thinking bubble (their mind!)

Finally, I passed out clipboards equipped with the following response page and a pencil. I let students know that they could now draw what they had been visualizing as they listened to the poem one last time. They started drawing immediately- most of them live to draw!
(Click HERE to grab this response page. I have included both American and British spellings)

Once they finished, I asked them to turn & talk with a buddy to compare their ideas and drawings.
Then I showed them the poem that I read, which was also illustrated. "Hey, that's different!" most of them said. So then I asked them why. We've talked about people having their own ideas enough for them to respond pretty quickly- people are all different, and that's why we all have different perspectives.

They noticed that there was a chicken in the poem's illustration, but it wasn't mentioned in the poem, so we also discussed what images would be reasonable to visualize. They decide that a chicken on the farm would make sense. "You wouldn't see a lion there because they don't live on farms." Right! We also talked about why a reader would visualize; "To understand the story better!" Right, again!
I encouraged students to add labels if they wanted.
And there you have it! We had a meaningful mini-lesson (that was truly mini,) and we were on to independent reading! I don't know why I hadn't used poems before. They're just as effective as picture books, but quicker and maybe more efficient, considering a first grader's attention span!

Do you have any favorite books or poems that you use to help students learn to visualize while they read?

Thanks for stopping by!

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