Posted by: waldropcv | June 13, 2010

Instructional Strategies #3: Sketch to Stretch

Your Name: Chris Waldrop

Name of Strategy: Sketch to Stretch

Source: All America Reads

Link to the Strategy:

Give a thorough description of the strategy and how it will be implemented:

Students will draw symbolic representations of their interpretation of a novel.  It is most effective when done after the reading of a novel.  The drawings can be anything; they can range from stick figures to a Jackson Pollack abstract piece.  However, each student will have to explain why they chose to draw what they did, and how it relates to the story.

Explain what part of the standard course of study is addressed by this activity.

Competency Goal 1: The learner will demonstrate increasing insight and reflection to print and non-print text through personal expression.

Competency Goal 2: The learner will inform an audience by using a variety of media to research and explain insights into language and culture.

Competency Goal 4: The learner will critically analyze text to gain meaning, develop thematic connections, and synthesize ideas.

Competency Goal 6: The learner will apply conventions of grammar and language usage.

Explain why you think this strategy will work. How does the strategy help your students learn?

This is a fun activity that will help students identify the main ideas and themes of a story.  It helps students understand symbols in a story while using symbols of their own to explain their personal reflection of the text.  Plus students will enjoy the break from writing.



  1. I like your idea of sketching interpretations of a novel. Students like to be creative by drawing and expressing themselves. This is a great way to couple this with literacy and get them to do some reading. They will need to at least comprehend portions of the novel to be able to create interpretations.

  2. I agree. Having the students think about the story and draw their ideas will really help them remember details. This is also a wonderful strategy to encourage those artists in class and provide relief for those who may not be the best writers. Great idea! Hannah

  3. This is really cool. I love that it’s Polick (sp?)…b/c he’s drawing are very modern and abstract; therefore, students that can’t draw will not feel like they can’t do this. I really like this a lot. I might steal it!

    Carey Sink

  4. I love to draw, so I can only imagine that I would love this activity. I think that when I a teacher I going to do all the art assignments alongside my students, just so that I’ll have an excuse to draw. Plus, art projects always made my learning experiences more fun when I was in high school. Good post.
    -Samuel Kraus

  5. I am definitely going to have to steal this.
    I agree with Carey that it is important to find drawings that will not intimidate students.
    Not all interpretations should have to be written. Sometimes a drawing could say more to a teacher about what the student understands than an essay.
    -Alyssa Matty

  6. Samuel, I love to draw also so I also think I’d love this activity. I hope to incorporate art projects into my lessons as well!

  7. I agree with everyone so far that this is a very interesting activity and one that would help students who enjoy art have a chance to express themselves. I think that this strategy will not only increase students’ interest in the texts it will also develop their understanding of the text because they have to decide what type of picture would be most appropriate and understandable to go along with the text. Good job!

    Justin Weltz

  8. This sounds like a great activity and a fun way to wrap up a novel!
    I had a teacher who did somthing similar. Each student in the class chose and scene or chaper and drew a picture. In the end when all were compiled together it was as though we had illustrated the book.

  9. Really like this idea, have used something similiar before with the assignment “definition of success”. The students could define it any way they chose – poem, essay, drawing, song, etc. Is a very open minded way of looking at assessments and is one where a student who is an awesome drawer now has an outlet for their talent…. great idea,.

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