PicLits calls itself "Inspired Picture Writing." I like it because it's great for visual learners, and it combined writing with grammar. Students can select from a wide collection of photos, and then drag-and-drop words from grammatical categories (nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs) to create sentences, poems, or to brainstorm words and phrases for a longer composition. I spent one whole day during the summer creating my own PicLits as story starters for descriptive writing practice. I dragged words from the adjective and adverbs columns (making sure that each picture contained a few words that I thought my freshmen would not be familiar with) and then I had students write descriptions of the photos using the descriptive words on their PicLit. It went so well that I laminated them for reuse. I was amazed at the compositions that developed out of this exercise and, while the words weren't completely of their own selection, most students eagerly turned to a dictionary in order to find the meaning and were able to use the words appropriately. I also have students return to this previous writing at times, when they feel uninspired by the descriptive writing muse.
Jessica Pilgreen is a National Board Certified secondary English teacher, a Doctoral candidate at UMSL, a Google Certified Educator, a PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, a mom, a wife, and a self-proclaimed ed tech enthusiast!