DigiLit Sunday: Craft Moves

Digilit Sunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche each week. Today, despite the flooding in South Louisana, Margaret finds fun and beautiful craft moves with digital tools.


I meet my new students Tuesday. Crafting our writing digitally is not in next week’s lesson plan. But, noticing and understanding craft is.

Figuring out the meaning and reacting to it is the joy of any media consumption.
Understanding how the author created that experience is next.

Taking cues from a few brilliant friends, I hope to bring the idea of craft, what it is and how the author did it, to the forefront of every reading, viewing and listening experience. The mood created when we consume media could be argued to be the essence of why we consume. That special something that makes the reader care involves craft.

Trevor Bryan’s work with the Art of Comprehension can help students understand mood and meaning. We start by viewing static pictures and then grow our thinking to the more complex and dynamic media. Trevor’s steps to analyze media go something like this:

1. list everything you see
2. summarize/retell
3.determine mood(s)
4. support thinking, find patterns
5 determine big ideas/theme
6. make connections

This process allows students to notice things an author /illustrator does and then link it to the feeling or the mood created by the text. By doing this, subtle craft moves become clearer. Try the six-steps with this picture from Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness illustrated by E.B. Lewis.


Kimberley Moran who is taking the Institute for Writers course on children’s literature shared one her assignments with me. It reminds me of the work Trevor is doing, but it pushes me to write.

1. watch an interaction
2.write everything you see
3.describe what the participants are thinking

I tried it with another picture from Woodson’s book.


The sun shines in the east; things are growing. The girls stand on the blacktop. Two of the four stand close together their hands at their sides. The girl in the light pink dress is the centerpiece. Her hands behind her back, she talks to the side by side girls. The fourth girl stands apart. Her hands behind her back, like our girl at the center. She is a mirror to the girl in the light pink dress, touched by her long shadow.

What do their actions say? How does their stance tell me what they are thinking but not saying? This process separates the external and internal work a writer must move through when crafting a narrative.

Girl in pink stripes: I stand by my friend in green, always. My friend is strong, like me. We don’t need you, girl in the pink dress.
Girl in the hot pink: I wonder. Interesting. Something to watch. I’m not committing.

For extra credit: Compare the two pictures. Notice the positions of the girls. What does the change tell us? Picture books hold amazing craft.

I’m looking forward to beginning our journey next week! We will observe, name, and write about what we notice. Through this work, we will find our craft and create.





#SOL15: Day 20, Voices Found in Story

Building on our work in Read Aloud this week (see Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday posts), I read Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness. Students are very familiar with the story; we’ve read it multiple times at the beginning of the year.

Students were asked to take on the voice of one character. They wrote in their notebooks as I read, stopped and asked: what do you think and feel.

Their choice of character split down the middle. Those who chose Maya had similar reactions, a mix of hurt and confusion. The Chloe choice showed differing responses.

Asking students to be the character; to write in the voice of the character has moved their writing about reading. The difference in reactions to the Chloe character maybe due to the various ways students interpret her through their personal lens.

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The following is a found poem based on six students responses.

I am Maya.

Who is this person?

Why is this girl getting away from me?

I think she doesn’t like me; isn’t happy with me.

Feel lonely cause they

didn’t want to be my friend.

Can’t ask they’ll say no

I will not tell the teacher

Hate this place, left out

Feeling scared.

People are whispering

they’ll reject so I just play by myself

Left out

and I want to go.

I am Chloe

why is she so shy?

should I smile back?

should I be her friend?

why next to me

eww I don’t like her

she has poor clothes


she’s poor

has no friends

I never want to be her friend

laughing because she was sitting by herself and

has a pretty party dress but looks like

second-hand store

Why am I being so mean?

Should I say sorry?

Should I play with her? She is nice to ask.

Why am I being so mean

Should I compliment her

Her dress is pretty but it’s used.

Maybe it’s new.

Why won’t she come over

Where did she go?

Should have been kind.

why didn’t I smile back?

Why was I so mean?

When will she come back

Want to smile back

be nice to Maya.

Tomorrow’s the last day in our picture book series. We’re reading One Green Apple.


Thank you, Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Stacey and Tara of Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting the Slice of Life March Story Challenge. Read other bloggers slices here. 11454297503_e27946e4ff_h