ELA CCRS Aligned (Grades 5-9)
Image Grammar and Brush Strokes
Dr. Melissa Shields / ALSDEmshields@alsde.eduTwitter: mjshields

Capitalize on your students' visual learning styles and create a classroom of exceptional readers and writers. Melissa will demonstrate several successful image-based lessons that engage and challenge students, including those most at-risk. Those lessons include warm-up activities, journaling, response to literature, literature circles, life graphs, and other project-based lessons. Melissa will also demonstrate Harry Noden’s successful “Brush Stroke Writing” strategies, also known as “Image Grammar.” Using images to stimulate thinking and word choice, students learn how to layer their writing with varied word structure and deliberate uses of different parts of speech. Participants will receive hands-on training, as well as ready-to-use classroom presentations and lessons to begin implementation in their own 4th-9th grade language arts classrooms.

  • ** Introductory Activity
      • “Real You” Picture Analysis
      • Brainstreams/Sponges (pp.1-3)

    • Razzle Dazzle Resources (separate handout)

    • Journal Image Vocabulary (p. 4)

    • Harry Noden’s Brush Strokes, from his book Image Grammar (pp. 6-10)

    • Checklist for Basic Brush Strokes (p.11)

    • Sketch to Stretch (separate handout)

    • Life Graphs (p. 12)

    • Me Quilts and Rubric (pp. 13-14)

    • Lit Circle Illustrator (p. 15)

    • Sample Week’s Lessons (pp. 16-17)

REALIZE Session Image Grammar PPT:
REALIZE Handout:

Workshop Presentation:

Sample Middle-School 36-Week Syllabus:
Brush Stroke Overview:
"Me" Quilt with Rubric:
Sketch to Stretch PowerPoints:
Journal Image Vocab PowerPoint (for school year):
Shields 66:


Beech, Linda W. 240 Vocabulary Words 6th Grade Kids Need to Know. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2004.

Burke, Jim. The English Teacher’s Companion. New York: Heinemann, 2007.

Forney, Melissa. Razzle Dazzle Writing. Gainesville, Florida: Maupin House Publishing, Inc., 2001.

Noden, Harry R. Image Grammar. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, 1999.