Adapted from “Writing Commonsense Matters” by Linda Rief p. 189-208, Adolescent Literacy: Turning Promise into Practice

Standards: W1, W2, W3, W4, W5, W6, SL1, SL3, SL4, SL6

Just as writing is thinking, so too are drawing, speaking, and listening. In this pre-writing activity, students use visuals and spoken language to tell a story, explain a complex event / process, or craft an argument. In supportive groups, students listen and offer constructive ideas for revision.

Distribute paper and sticky notes.

First draft: Students begin to draw a story, essay, report, or speech using stick figures and key words sketched onto sticky notes. This is called the tellingboard. Student-composers arrange their notes onto the paper and tell their compositions orally to a small group of student-listeners, guided by the content and arrangement of their sticky notes. Group members comment and ask questions.

Second draft: Based on the feedback they received from their group, student composers rearrange their sticky notes, add new notes, and/or delete or clarify first draft sticky notes into a second draft. Student-composers tell their composition again, guided by their revised tellingboards, to the same group of listeners.

Third Draft: Once the tellingboard is as complete as possible, student-composers begin to write their story, essay, report, or speech guided by their tellingboards.

Click here for the Tellingboard Directions handout.