One Word Image/Picture/Drawing

This is probably the most effective no-prep activity you should become familiar with:

1) Say or ask for one(1) word.
2) Draw it on the board (or have the Class Artist draw it).
3) Ask about it, and add details to the image.

I’m never at a loss for what to add because I rely on my Question Word Posters as reference to drive the image. Looking at the posters around my board, I usually just ask questions in order and get corresponding supporting details without planning a single thing. Here’s an example that began with a single word, fūr (thief)…

Where? = The thief is in Starbucks
From Where? = Lived in Spain
To Where? = Wants to go to Peet’s Coffee in Berkeley, not Cambridge
What? = Has a gladius (Roman sword)
Who? = The thief’s name is Tom
Whose? = The gladius is actually the Starbucks barista’s gladius
When? = It’s night time
Whom? = The thief sees someone with a better, bigger gladius
With Whom? = Donald Trump (obviously!)
To Whom? = The Starbucks barista gives a coffee to Donald Trump
How? = The thief has the gladius because he stole it from the Starbucks barista
How many? = Actually, the Tom the Thief has 7 gladiī—one from each Starbucks in Starbucksville
What sort of? = Tom is actually a bad thief…the Starbucks barista saw him steal the gladius
Why? = Donald Trump is there because he wants to buy all the Starbucks’

Note how some of the details don’t connect (e.g. there is another person with a sword but doesn’t get mentioned again), but realize that they don’t have to. We’re just creating an image, not any kind of plot. Also note, however, how easily this COULD turn into a prompt for a Timed Write, or a Storyasking session, especially given the image we’ve established as a class.

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2 thoughts on “One Word Image/Picture/Drawing

    • One word, any word. The focus could remain on the object with passive verbs, but the question posters might also shift to people who weave their way into the image.

      Ex. gladius (Roman sword)

      Where? = The gladius is on the table
      From Where? = Made in Spain
      To Where? = Brought to Starbucks by Trader Joe
      What? = Was sold for 10 denarii
      Who? = Trader Joe sold it
      Whose? = It’s is now the Starbucks barista’s gladius
      When? = It was made 200 years
      Whom? = It has killed 100s, saved millions
      With Whom? = The Knights Templar
      To Whom? = The gladius was given to Tom Hanks
      How? = On a magic carpet
      How many? = There can be only one
      What sort of? = The gladius is magnificent, oh, and purple
      Why? = Everyone likes swords

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