Unit 5: Writing from Pictures: Podcast Episode 167

Dec 05, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


In Podcast 167 Andrew Pudewa and Julie Walker discuss Unit 5, Writing from Pictures. This unit is distinct from the other writing units in that the student uses pictures in order to describe a series of events. In scheduling the IEW units, the months of December and January are generally allotted to Unit 5, not because it is a particularly difficult unit to teach, but rather because that time of year tends to be very busy for people.

While some educators may be tempted to skip this unit, believing it to be too juvenile, please don’t. Unit 5 focuses on developing the skill of fluency through the asking of questions to generate ideas. It teaches students how to think better and cultivates creativity and imagination. These skills are very important ones to develop and will be used in future writing endeavors, especially when they begin to write essays and must provide their opinions in the conclusions.

Other than its use of pictures, some people have wondered about what differentiates Unit 5 from Unit 3, Retelling Narrative Stories. While both units encourage students in developing thinking skills through the asking of questions, in Unit 3 each paragraph in the 3-paragraph composition has a different purpose and, therefore, asks different questions. In contrast, each paragraph in Unit 5 has the same purpose—to describe the event displayed in the image—and as a result, the same questions may be considered in each paragraph to help flesh out the event or story.

If you are embarking on Unit 5 and would like even more tips and tricks on teaching it, view the portion of the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style seminar that reviews Unit 5. Additionally you may find it helpful to review the Unit 5 webinar and slides. And check in with our forums, too. We have a thread specifically dedicated to Unit 5.

Have fun with it! Kids are naturally imaginative and usually enjoy this unit. And if you are stymied about where to source pictures, Andrew and Julie have you covered. They share many suggestions in the podcast for finding fun pictures to help flesh out the unit. Be sure to listen in!

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