10 Reasons to Try Directed Drawings in Your Primary Classroom


Drawing has been and always will be such a calming activity for me. As a child, I was always doodling in my notebooks, drawing the same things over and over again, until I liked what they looked like. Then I’d move on to the next. It makes me wonder, where were directed drawings when I was in school?! Even as an adult, it soothes me. I remember back to this summer when I had surgery and so many friends sent me coloring books. It was such a relaxing activity do while I was cooped up inside on the couch. Even to this day as a teacher, if I have the opportunity to sit and draw with my students during quiet time or indoor recess, I never pass it up.

As a primary teacher, I love giving my students opportunities to draw. As mentioned, there are times in our day when students can choose to draw. After lunch, we spend ten minutes of quiet time to get our brains and bodies ready to learn again. Students can read a book or draw. I’d say about 95% of them choose drawing. Do I blame them? No! If I were given those two options as a child, I’d choose to color…every time. I love to see their creativity emerge during this time. Right now my class is obsessed with folding surprises! They fold the paper, draw on the outside, and then when you pull the paper apart, there’s more hidden inside. They truly are SO creative!

With Education to the Core’s Directed Drawing bundles, there are so many reasons to implement them into your primary classroom this year!

1. Built-in Academics

Similar to our Color by Number resources, directed drawings are academic-centered and align with multiple state standards. I often use directed drawings as a word work or a writing station. There are components of both phonics skills and writing skills, rooting them in academics. But they’re still so fun and engaging! The structure of these activities is so enticing to students. Start off by drawing something fun, then practice writing the word, finding rhyming words, or creating a short story about your picture! If directed drawings are new to your students, model one as a whole group before letting students work on them independently throughout the year. Plus, with so many different options within the two bundles, they can be paired to go with a certain unit of study. For example, I use the fantasy bundle when we are doing our fairy tale unit!

2. Directed Drawings Build Confidence

Our little learners need confidence. As teachers, we want our students to feel proud of the work they do. We want them to be boosted up from a young age, so they can carry that feeling with them after they leave us. A directed drawing can help students who need, well….direction! Do you have paper crumplers? Students who get frustrated with their work then proceed to crumple up their paper and start from scratch. What they might be lacking is the simple step-by-step process to help them feel successful. Education to the Core’s Directed Drawings offers a six-step simple process that is student-friendly and easy to follow! A directed drawing is a great place to start when boosting a student’s confidence.

3. Following Directions

Ah yes, following directions. This reason alone should make it a done deal! That moment when you feel like you explained directions really well, you repeated yourself, you modeled them, and then you hear those words, “wait what are we doing?”. Queue the *shivers*. For students who might have a hard time following multi-step directions, this is a great opportunity for them to work on that skill with an activity that focuses on something they enjoy. It’s almost like…that’s the whole point! They’re working on what we want them to get better at, while they’re working on something they want to get better at. Genius!

4. Differentiation Among Directed Drawings

Is differentiation still a buzzword? Because it should be! One of my favorite things about ETTC’s Directed Drawings is the options for extension. As I said before, I often use directed drawings for my independent stations during our literacy block. I do my best to differentiate for each group, based on their individual needs. I’ll typically offer the double-sided version of the directed drawings to students who need that extra challenge, or fast finishers. It keeps them busy for the full fifteen-minute rotation every time! Students who might be overwhelmed by both sides simply work on their drawing and follow up with a sentence about their picture.

5. Fine motor skills

We’ve all received those drawings from students and we have no idea what they are. It looks like pointless scribble and chaos, but to them, it’s something they made. It’s something they’re proud of. And while we love those sentimental drawings, we want them to grow. We want to see a transformation in their abilities. With many of my students being 100% remote for kindergarten last year, I noticed a significant increase in fine motor difficulties. It hasn’t decreased their love for drawing though. As a teacher, I want them to love what they create. I want them to be proud of what they draw and have their peers cheer them on from the sidelines. Directed drawings can give students the structure to improve their fine motor skills and love the end product. And the accomplishment they’ll feel when they can look at what they made and know they did it by themselves–priceless.

6. Directed Drawings can be Stress Relief

I mentioned this at the beginning but I’m looping back to this. I can’t tell you how excited my students get to see these directed drawings in their stations for the week. If I give them three different work-on writing options for the week, they’re grabbing a directed drawing first. Well, unless there’s a Transformation Station available. Those go-fast too ?. Once students complete the step-by-step directions, they have full creative freedom to add on to the drawing however they would like! So many of our little learners enjoy coloring and drawing. Why not naturally incorporate that into their learning?

7. Something for everyone

You know when you find an activity your students love? But you have to ration it out throughout the year so you don’t run out. Well ETTC thought that one through. By giving us 200 DIFFERENT DIRECTED DRAWINGS! I love to exaggerate, but that’s not an exaggeration. As teachers, we know what interests our students. Animals, food, fantasy, transportation, you name it–we’ve got it! What a great natural way to incorporate student interests into their everyday learning!

8. Brain Break

I’m typically an over-planner. I rarely have small increments of time that need to be filled. But when I do, I panic. My go-to is to read a book or to play a game. But there are only so many books. And sometimes the group can’t handle a game at the moment. Having a directed drawing ready to go can be the perfect time filler! It’s educational, but also fun. It’s purposeful but relaxing. It really is the best of both worlds! And even better, once they do one, students will know what to do because the directions are so consistent.

9. Directed Drawings are No Prep

I said this before and I’ll say it again: ETTC’s Directed Drawings require ZERO PREP. If that’s not enough to convince you to try them out then I don’t know what will. Download, print and distribute. Make them a part of your structured centers, put them out as a fast finisher, or offer them up during indoor recess. Whatever you decide to do with them, it’ll be done with ease. I can guarantee you that.

10. Consistency

Selfishly, I love consistency for myself. As a type-A teacher, knowing next week I have a great directed drawing to throw in with our nonfiction unit is music to my ears. Consistency keeps me going. But as much as I depend on consistency week to week, I know my students need it even more. They need engaging resources and activities that have clear expectations. You know what they say, consistency is key!

Whether you need something on the fly, or it’s a consistent part of your stations every week, there’s something to be said about a purposeful resource that students AND teachers both love. Directed drawings are something I personally wish I had used growing up in school. I love getting to share them now with my students. If you already use them in your classroom, great! Make sure you’re up to date with both bundles ETTC has. If you are new to directed drawings and don’t know where to start, ease into it with a small group, or ask teachers on your team if they have used them in the past and how. You have to find something that works for your group of students. And once you do, you’ll be set!


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Welcome! I’m Emily, Founder of Education to the Core. We are all about helping K-2 teachers by providing unlimited access to affordable printables for every subject area.