I want to share a lesson that I did on teaching setting that my kids just loved! We have been discussing setting in writing and reading, and the kids definitely understand it pretty quickly. However, it takes a little bit more to get them to add setting details to their drawings. I think they find it difficult to believe that those details really make that much of a difference. This activity really brings to light for them how powerful setting can be in drawings.
I begin by giving each student a drawing paper with the same figure four times. It looks like this:
I then give them step by step drawing instructions to help them bring each picture to life. For example, I might say, ” Draw a long, thin, slanted rectangle just beneath your person,” or “Draw two vertical, parallel lines just to the left of your person.” In kindergarten I am modeling as I go, so I use the language but also show them exactly what I mean. In older grades you could certainly just give them the verbal instructions and see how they do. I love embedding math language this way!
The fun comes when the kids begin to guess what we are drawing. They begin to realize that each detail that we add is a clue, and they notice things in a different way. I usually save the dentist chair for last, as it is a bit trickier. Two years in a row this has been the most fun picture. The kids start to guess things like a chair or bed. Then they guess hairdresser (which it easily could be!) Once we add the light, they realize it is the dentist.
I think it would be fun to follow up with another, similar picture base and have the kids add their own settings, although I have not done that yet. Here are some photos of my kids at work, and their finished products.
If you would like to do this with your students, you can get the beginning page that I use, as well as pages showing the drawing stage and finished product, by clicking here. I love the special creativity they can give the pictures at the end when they color, design clothes, and add hair! How do you help your kids understand setting?