Sensory Figures, An Interactive Notebook Assignment – Part II

I love, love, love these assignments and posted about them earlier here.

This year I was working with younger students, and I was concerned about them “getting it”. They say you should teach a new strategy with familiar content, so I decided that for each new assignment they would create an example based on themselves. I saved the first ten pages of the notebook for this.

One comment complaint from students is that they can’t draw. I say that everyone can draw, we just can’t all draw well. I am one of those who can’t draw well and this gives me a certain amount of classroom “cred” – If I can do it, they can do it.

So I started with a stick figure, and showed the students how to put clothes on the stick figure to “flesh it out”. Then I did the assignment for myself, explaining the rules. No generic comments (I hear birds singing, etc), no repetitive comments (oops, I can’t mention my class again, hmmn, how can I say this?), and each of the seven comments must tell something important about the person. Here is my example:

Teacher Example for Sensory Figure

Of course, I was tired of drawing myself by the end of the day😉, but doing it from scratch really seemed to help.

I’ve also recently found this tutorial on on how to draw a proportionate human body:

Then I had student create “mini-mes”, or sensory figures of themselves. I circulated and reminded them to spend equal time drawing and writing. Here are some of theirs:

Student Example Sensory Figure 2     Student Example Sensory Figure 3   Student Example Sensory Figure 5

Students then partnered to complete a reading guide on pioneers on the Great Plains. (That was their left hand assignment) Then, after we reviewed it, I had them create a pioneer sensory figure. Here are some of the result:

 Pioneer Sensory Figure 3  Pioneer Sensory Figure 4  Pioneer Sensory Figure 5

These first content ones were so much better than I am used to, and I’m convinced it was because I took the time to teach the strategy with familiar content first.

4 comments so far

  1. Eve Heaton on

    Used the sensory figure in reading class the other day. Students had to take a character from the book we were reading (The Witches) and use the character to tell me about parts of the book. My students really enjoyed it.

    One drew a picture of William and Mary (the mice the boy was training) and did an excellent job.


  2. NeeCee on

    This looks like a really good activity to use with The Westing Game, our next novel, because it has some very complex characters. It will also be interesting to see their visual interpretation of how each of the characters look and dress.

  3. Aimee Patterson on

    I’m loving the idea of using IAN (I’m teaching 7th grade SS and ELA this coming school year) but I am still confused as to what assignments are “Left ” and which ones are “right.” In the above post you said that you had them partner up to complete a reading guide as a left assignment and then do a sensory figure on the right. Do they actually post the completed guide into the IAN for the left side? I’m trying to still make sense of all of this… thank you sooo much for all the examples and pictures… it is making more sense as I read further. Just still a little confused🙂

  4. mrsgannon on

    Left hand assignments are the content (left is for learning) right hand sides are for processing (right is for reflection). In the above example, the reading guide would be glued in on the left – the sensory figure would go on the right. Hope this helps.

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