Drawing as a narrative tool

person drawing angel, kids, child, children, elementary, little kidsHD wallpaper: person drawing angel, kids, child, children, elementary, little kids 360x640px (480P) free download from wallpaperflare.com_wallpaper(2)

I came across an interview with Mo Willems thanks to a post on the Facebook Group “On Butterfly Wings – English and More”. It provided food for thought across a variety of topics, but something that particularly struck me was Willem’s comments on drawing as a form of writing and as a narrative process (especially for children).In paragraphs 29 and 30, he states:

I think it’s a mistake to assume that drawing or doodling isn’t a form of writing—I think drawing is a very accessible form of writing. Many writers use storyboards or make maps or sketches, even if they’re only writing prose. There’s an inherent value in drawing that’s really powerful.

Children tend to draw chronologically, which is to say narratively. They’ll start with, “Oh, I’m going to draw a character. Now, is it a hero or a villain? It’s a villain. Well, if it’s a villain, it has a cape. And if it has a cape, it can fly. Let me draw the sky.” And all of that story comes out of having a drawing utensil in your hand. It’s magic.

While I should and would like to do some more research on that, it has inspired me to use drawing as narrative more throughout my K-6 library lessons. I think it is tempting for me to want more text-based responses from students as they get older. However, with a substantial EAL/D and LBOTE population in my school, I think that incorporating more graphic responses would be beneficial as well.

Hopefully this musing is not too light on… I am trying to get back into a blogging mindset after the topsy-turviness of the COVID-19 shakeup of the schools.

For my theoretical audience, LOL, a few questions to comment upon:

  • How do you use drawing in library or writing lessons?
  • Do you have any other readings or thoughts on this topic?
  • Are you willing to demonstrate your creativity through having a go at drawing (and accepting what you have drawn without negative comment) in front of a class?



Kaplan, E. (2020, February 21). Mo Willems and the lost art of being silly. In Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/mo-willems-lost-art-being-silly?fbclid=IwAR0kVyO1IarXpHGHY6c7xffKAlZkBGZB4i1pDzD67tAanzibbNcfi0Rb6-g

Book recommendations for Kindy

I was looking for a low-key way to get my Stage 3 students active in the first library lesson of the year. I decided to ask them each to pick a book that they would recommend for a Kindergarten student and fill out a slip with a few simple reasons for their choice, for instance the book is:

  • funny
  • sad
  • colourful

This also gave me a selection of books to suggest to Kindergarten on their first couple of library visits, and tied it to students who they had been spending time with in buddy activities rather than just from me, who they had only recently met.

I think the idea worked fairly well. Most of the recommended books have been borrowed either by Kindergarten in their first two library sessions, or by Stage One students in their second library visit.

I also took advantage of the concept of Library Lovers’ Day to create a “Books we love” display on the back wall. Students in stages One to Three were asked to write a book or series that they love (and a reason for the older students). Each stage used a different colour post-it and I arranged them in different shapes on the bulletin board. I am thinking of adding some pictures of covers of books we hold in the library that are mentioned on the post-its to complete the display. Here is a picture of what we have so far:

Bulletin board display
FSPS Books we love display. Photo by Marika Simon 2020.

Stress and uncertainty

Hot on the heels of my feelings of triumph and competence came the creeping panic and overwhelming stress of the end of the year. Last Thursday, I had little stress flutters all throughout the day, which was not helpful when trying to accomplish the tasks that I assume were setting off these attacks. I am lucky that I work in a small school with supportive staff. Several times that day I was asked if everything was okay and help and support were offered to me. This was helpful on the one hand, on the other hand I felt like something must be seriously wrong for everyone to notice that I was so stressed out. I want to project the image of having it all together and being a source of support and assistance – not the beneficiary of it!

I guess my lesson for today is: it takes a village to build a library (and to build a librarian). None of us can be truly successful on our own – together we are stronger, better, and brighter. So, I am giving a shout out of thanks to the staff members who asked after me and offered their help on Thursday. I am also giving a big shout out to Lindy at Abbey’s Bookshop who helped me find some library award books on Friday – the time spent poring through the children’s section with her was deeply restorative to my soul and equilibrium. And today or tomorrow, I will also try to take a piece of advice given to me by my library assistant recently and make a list of what needs to be done. I did not really want to face everything in black and white, but I think I need to organise and prioritise my tasks to get it all done.

How are you handling the mad rush at the end of the year?

Job search – from drought to deluge


CSIRO ScienceImage 429 Drought Effected Landscape

CSIRO. (2000). Drought affected landscape. CC Attribution 3.0 Unported.

The initial phase of job search can feel an awful lot like a drought. Applications for positions sent off with hope come back after a month or so, rejected before interview time and time again. It can be hard to keep seeking feedback and trying again. At some point, however, the hard slog of adjusting your application to fit the conventions and expectations of the job market hits fertile ground and you make it to the interview stage!

I was lucky enough to make it to the interview stage for my first position in late November of this year. It seemed the perfect position – 3 days per week in a small school that was a reasonable commute from my home in an area I was quite attracted to. I felt the interview had gone well, but had nothing against which to judge it. Another position, this one only 1 day per week but in an innovative school that is even closer to my home, had applications due before I heard back so I put my material in for that one as well. Continue reading “Job search – from drought to deluge”

Taking a step forward or a blast from the past?

Life has a way of going in circles sometimes. I have just either taken a step forward into a new career direction or stepped through a wormhole and warped back in time. I have submitted an application for a position as Part Time Library Assistant at the State Library New South Wales. In doing so, I moved my former library work experiences from the mists of the deep past (1989-1995) to front and centre on the “relevant work experiences” section of my resume.

The job itself sounds quite similar to the positions I held more than twenty years ago, but feels like a step in the direction of my new endeavours. The State Library New South Wales (SLNSW) is something of my dream employer with regards to the Masters degree I am currently pursuing – my dream job within SLNSW would be creating and implementing educational programs for school excursions, incursions and digital learning, such as those featured on the website. Here’s hoping this is a step in that general direction, even if everything old is new again.



State Library of New South Wales. (2018). Schools and teachers. Retrieved from http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/learning/schools-and-teachers

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