Tuesday, June 9, 2015

PIC LITS: Interactive Writing & Grammar

One of my absolute favorite websites for creating Language Arts materials is PicLits (Picture  + Literature = PicLit). I'm always trying to emphasize the visual aspects of writing with my students, and this website is a wonderful merging of photography and writing! PicLits is a collection of pictures, where writers can drag and drop words onto the images to create picture-inspired writing (PicLit's slogan)! Here's a screenshot of their homepage:

PicLit's Landing Page
PicLits offers a wide variety of breathtaking photos to choose from, with a huge range of subject matter. The color photos are vivid and the black-and-white photos are dramatic. There is guaranteed to be something to interest every student, and photos are updated regularly. This makes PicLits a great activity for differentiation! If you have access to a computer lab, you can have students pick their own images to work with. I don't always have access to a computer, so I've printed 30 different photos (with their lists of adjectives and adverbs), laminated them, and turned them into "PicLit cards" so that I can reuse them every year. Here's a sample of what my PicLit cards look like:

Before class starts, I tape the PicLit cards to desks and, as students walk into the classroom, I tell them to sit at a desk with a photo that interests them. I vary the directions for the writing prompt, depending on what I want to focus on. (For example, I might have students write 100 word describing the story behind the picture, using 6 of the adjectives and 6 of the adverbs listed.) Students really enjoy the freedom to pick their image, and the word lists provide scaffolding for students who need a little extra help generating ideas for their writing. The end results always turn out fantastic!

This could be used in so many ways: poetry, prose, or grammar exercises. There are SO many possibilities!

Check out my screencast below for a tour of PicLits, and to see how I use PicLits in my classroom.