Talking, Drawing, Writing

Jennifer from Teaching with Grace asked me to participate in her summer book study on a book called 
Talking, Drawing, Writing by Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Galcobbe. I had never heard of this book but I was hooked from the introduction. (So hooked that I continued to read on while blow drying my hair!)

Like many primary teachers I have a serious obsession with books. It's physically impossible for me to enter Barnes & Noble without purchasing at least one book. I prowl the Goodwill book stores (books are $1!) and I pray my favorite authors will be making a trip to Austin soon! So for me the first chapter seemed like a winner!

Chapter 1: Storytelling

Raise your hand if you've practiced winning an Academy Award for your performance as a primary teacher! I totally have! You have to take those moments when kids are hanging on your every word and make the most of them! I love how using oral stories can show your students how to make their writing and retelling of an event exciting. I did a lot of oral storytelling when I taught writing in fourth grade, but for some reason I haven't done it as much with my first graders this year. I'm making note that oral stories need to be a big part of our writing- especially at the first of the year when students are getting used to my expectations.

Most first graders have millions of stories to tell you. About everything. EVERYthing! But
I really liked that the author mentioned this, "There are some children, of course, who don't come to school telling stories. It may be that they haven't been invited to conversations about what matters to them, haven't been read to, haven't been told stories." I try to have lots of discussion about new topics and ask what experiences students have had to get them thinking and talking. Eventually even your student who is the most shy will have exciting things to share.

I love to incorporate new vocabulary into my conversations with my class. Today, for example, I used the word headway. After we discussed what they thought I meant by making headway they nodded. An hour later "Mrs. Tice, you're right we really are making headway." The more we tell stories to each other the more practice students have with language. 

Although this book is written with a strong focus on kindergarten I'm finding it to have great reminders for ways I can reach my students and engage them in the beginning of the year!


  1. I am sad that this book has such a strong primary focus because it sounds so good and my kids need some serious help with writing. And clearly I need help teaching it lol
    Third Grade Tidbits

  2. Goodwill stores have the best book deals! This looks like a fantastic book! I will have to check it out and add it to my list!

    The Polished Teacher

  3. The book sounds interesting, I may have to check it out.

    I have never checked Goodwill for books and I have one about 1 1/2 miles from my house. Thanks for the tip.

    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  4. I am currently reading this book and I love it! It definitely is for beginning writers, but I think that teachers of slightly older children can gain some insight into how to instill a love of writing in their students. Writing has always been my "thorn" and I am happy to find some practical ways to teach it! Thank you for sharing!


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  6. I have taught 3rd, 2nd, and 1st grade, but this year was my first year in kindergarten. I have always been in awe of the fabulous job the k teachers at my building do each year. I was terrified to hold this tremendous responsibility. This book was a great guide. With many of my students coming with no pre-school experience, I liked the idea of starting where where everyone would feel successful. I also agreed with the idea that storytelling "honors who they are".