“My Garden” – Wonderful Writing for Spring! – part 1

Anchor Book:  My Garden by Kevin Henkes

Anchor Book: My Garden by Kevin Henkes

After spending several weeks writing about things from our “memory pockets”, the primary students at my school were excited to use their “imagination pockets” this week to help them with their writing.  After reviewing the strategy of “VISUALIZING” with the students, (“making thinking pictures in your brain when you read”) I read “My Garden” by Kevin Henkes. I told them that I was not going to show them the pictures the first time because I wanted them to make “thinking pictures” inside their heads while I read. This delightful book tells the story of a young girl who helps her mother weed and water the garden, but then proceeds to describe her own imaginary garden.  “In my garden…..Flowers bloom and never die”, Strawberries glow like lanterns, If I plant a seashell, shells would grow.”  After I finished the story, students shared their “thinking pictures” that were “stuck” inside their brains. I then read the book again, this time, showing the pictures.

I explained that for our weekly writing this week, we were going to write about our imaginary gardens. I prompted some questions for them to start visualzing their own gardens: How do you get into your garden? What interesting things grow there? What animals and plants can you find there? What can you do in your garden? What magical or extraordinary things happen in your garden?”

I then modeled by drawing a picture of my own imaginary garden. I talked through my picture explaining the things in my garden, including: a special gate that has a secret password to get in; a tree that grows books, a fountain that has buttons to push and different coffees come out, a bench to sit on and read my book, a chipmunk that comes to paint my toenails while I’m reading, flowers with red licorice stems, cotton candy clouds and a chocolate waterfall. (see picture below)   The students couldn’t wait to get started on their own garden pictures!

My Garden - teacher model

My Garden – teacher model

The students worked hard drawing and coloring their pictures.  These pictures will then be used to help them with their writing tomorrow!   Stay tuned for Part 2!


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