Jeff asked Alisa:

Hi Alisa,

I would like to learn more about the listen and draw activity you described in your comment yesterday. What is the more detailed version of the protocol you use? 

Alisa responded:

Hi Jeff:

Let’s say that together you came up with a Cake, for the OWI – and it did or didn’t turn into an Invisibles story.  In Elementary, I draw behind the easel, as I ask Qs about what it has, how it feels, etc.  There’s a big reveal at the end.  Very exciting!  In upper grades there’s a class artist for this, but my kiddies can’t listen and draw like that.  Anyway, after you’ve processed the drawing in front of the class and squeezed as much juice as you can out of it, you can go to  It’s a free site – the artist dad draws kid-friendly images in his studio (you can make requests – he once did of video based on my request for Fly Guy! – but no promises and dunno how long it takes..I noticed it months later so I don’t even know if it was in response to my request).  Type in whatever you wanna draw in the search bar, in this case, “cake.”  Explore the site – it’s got tons of fun stuff!  I did not pay to subscribe – I only use the free stuff.

Anyway, what makes it so great is that the guy draws so slowly, clearly and ‘iconically’ – and his kid draws to – seated next to him – so the kids are less intimidated about drawing perfectly.

I have a protocol for the kids with the dry erase boards – how to distribute them, the erasers and markers, etc.  Then, lights off and I ‘movie talk’ the drawing (in Spanish).  We drew the ‘cute birthday cake” and have also drawn the cupcake for a different story (Paddy Pan video clip – really good).

As we are drawing the Ss can say ALTO to stop – but w/dry erase the filter goes way down.  At several intervals I ask them to stop, cap their markers and show me their progress.

At the end everyone poses with their board and I take a group photo (I dunno why but they like this!)

Is this enough info?  Sometimes they love the image so much that we first draw it on dry erase lapboards (black marker only), then again the next day on paper – in color and signed, maybe with a phrase or quote from the story in the TL.  A nice memory to hang prominently on the fridge at home.

Hope this helps.





4 thoughts on “Question”

  1. This is great, Alisa. I do something a little similar. In my case (SK-3rd. Grade), I draw on the board and students follow my directions. Yes, they love to draw and color! I will try your way too.

  2. This allows me to sit for a sec w/lights off, and not really think as much – all I have to do is narrate – the artist does the drawing… I love doing this on Friday afternoons!

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