Monday, October 26, 2015

Monstrously Fun Collaboration

Having a classroom blog provides a plethora of opportunities to collaborate and create with classes all over the world. Recently, we were invited by Miss Jordan in Victoria, Australia, to participate in a monstrously creative writing project. 

Miss Jordan's pupils are grade 4 students. 
They have a classroom blog just like us!

The directions for the Monster Project: 

Step 1:  Students draw a monster using their imagination.

Step 2:  Students write a paragraph detailing the monster. 
Important descriptive details to include are color, shape, and size

Step 3: Students trade the descriptive paragraphs with a blogging buddy. This was done via Google docs.

Step 4: Students draw their buddy's monster using only the descriptive paragraphs. 

Step 5: Students share and compare the original drawings. We used a Google slide show. As you compare the two drawings, what do you notice? (Sometimes a detail or two gets left out of a paragraph. Sometimes students miss important words when reading. )

Step 6: Publish the results on the class blog and have fun reading and comparing!   

Rulers were employed to be sure the measure was correct. Since our Australian buddies are on the metric system, we used centimeters. 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

Students made a chart of attributes. 

Describe each body part: Color? Shape? Size? 

Although we tried our best, we learned that it is very difficult to give written instructions. It is important to include all relevant details!

Visit our blogging buddies' site with their monstrous slide show!

TODAY, we looked at the monsters in our Google Presentation. In groups, we compared the monster drawn by our Australian buddy to what we actually wrote. We made a T-chart and labeled it Correct or Incorrect. 

By Thursday, leave a comment! 

What words or phrases did you use that were effective? 

What did you leave out? 

What sentences would you add to make your drawing better? 


  1. Maria (Kostaki's mom)October 26, 2015 at 9:28 PM

    Dear Class,

    This is Kostaki's, mom, Maria. WOWSERS! I noticed so many descriptive details and creativity in your monster's names, especially. The onomatopoeia was particularly effective and helped me to, "hear" the monsters' voices when I was looking at your illustrations.

    I was also reminded about how important it is to be specific when I write. Sometimes I think I'm expressing something clearly in an email, for example, but I may not be. Kostaki's dad and I joke about this with each other because I usually think like an artist, and he usually thinks like a mathematician. For example, I like to label our photos with silly names, and he prefers labels that have numerical dates.

    I noticed some of the monsters were robotic looking and very linear, while others had more round shapes and appeared more organic. Do any of you feel more like an artist and less like a mathematician, or vice versa? Or, do any of you feel a mathematician is an artist, or an artist is a mathematician? If so, do you feel your monster reflected this sensibility?

    Your friend,
    Kostaki's mom

    1. @mom,

      My buddy in Australia did a good job redrawing my monster. The only problem was that he probably accidentally forgot to put down the name tag and put the wheels some place visible (even though I put you cannot see the wheels.) Also, I think that I could have put the outer squares in a better sentence describing them. He got the eye color right, and every other color where it was supposed to go. I forgot a few things like telling him what color and shape the horns were, and that the grey triangle was upside down. I also forgot to write the measurements of the triangles. Otherwise, I think he did a good job.

      Mom, to answer your question, I think artists are mathematicians because sometimes (like in my class) artists use inches and centimeters to measure length and to see what would go with the other shapes, I guess.


  2. Dear,Mrs.Yollis
    My buddy made a mistake on my monster. He drew square ears instead of doggy ears. One thing I realized is that dogs have ears that are all shapes and sizes. I should have done a specific dog breed's ears-- like a Dachshund. Then he would have gotten the message. He got the compass right, but it was not on the body. It was on the head in his. He also got the message for the eyes. They were on the ears, like mine. He also got the hexagon body, octagon head, and triangular feet. That is a lot of things he got right.
    Your student,

  3. Dear class,
    I think I did a pretty good job describing my monsters. Although I did make a few mistakes and my Australian partner made a few mistakes. Here are some mistakes my Australian partner and I made: I forgot to tell wether my line in the middle of the antennas was vertical or horizontal. My Australian partner made a mistake by not reading carefully so, he didnt do the size of my antennas right and didn't do the colors right .
    I really enjoyed looking at my mistakes because it helped me realize how important it was to be very specific.
    What mistakes did you make?
    What mistakes did your Australian partner make?
    Your classmate,

  4. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My monster was very hard to describe because it had lots of details and irregular shapes. I could have done a better job of describing the monster's body as a long oval like shape leading into a 100cm long tail. I also think I could have done a better job in describing how the monster walks like a hamster.

    My favorite part of this project was being able to draw straight from my imagination. At home, I like to draw all sorts of creatures. My favorite is the "Chickenfish." The Chickenfish is a fish with a long pointy beak and the crest of a chicken. I have a picture of it on the back side of my notebook.

    This was a really fun exercise and I hope I can practice describing things more.

    Your student,


  5. Dear class mates,

    My partner in Australia, Emma got instructions on a monster I made. The monster's name was Holly the Buttercup Butterfly. To begin with, I drew a monster that looked like a butterfly. It was very pretty with huge solid black eyes and a blue head. Emma chose to make little white spot with a black dot for the eyes. I thought it added more detail to our monster.

    Then I noticed that Emma's wings on her monster were shaped like an oval which is exactly what I said in the instructions. Emma also made the legs a little bit different. She made the butterfly look like it was sitting down from being really hot. We also made the antennas different, but I liked the way she made hers look. In the end, our monsters turned out to be similar to each other.

    I really liked this assignment and I hope that next year, Mrs. Yollis lets her class do this again.

    Sincerely ,


  6. Dear Mrs. Yollis ,
    I loved doing this project, it combined two of my favorite things, art and writing. My partner in Australia was Maddie. She was great at following directions, although we both did have a few mistakes. Some are things that I forgot to put in my writing. Others are ones that I bet she accidentally forgot about. I didn't say which way my monster's ears came out, so we had different ears. Also, I did not write that my arms were triangles and the effect was we had different arms. By mistake Maddie put her semi-circle eyes facing in and not up. On the other hand both of ours looked very much alike. We both have blue hair on our monsters and an octagon body. We had so many things in our drawings that were the same. How did you and Ms. Jordan come up with the activity?
    Your Student,

    1. Dear Maddie,

      Maddie, I think your drawing was was cute. Do you think you left any important things out? Why did you chose the pig to be your monster? I love little piglets. Do you like little piglets? I also think it was a brilliant experience with drawing, measuring, and writing.

      Your class mate,


  7. Dear Mrs. Yollis

    My buddy Elliot from Australia tried to draw my monster. He got three things correct. He got the head, four squares, and the horns. What he got incorrect was the legs, the body, and the mouth.
    What I forgot to tell Elliot was how many centimeters long the body was. Overall I think Elliot did a good job.

    Your student,

  8. Dear Class,
    For our class project I got partnered up with an Australian partner, Rocker. My monster that I made was named Bella the Bizzzy Bee. Rocker did an awesome job listening and following directions. I forgot to say my egg shape body is horizontal, my eyes are solid black, and my mouth is really small. He got all the colors right and he almost got the shape right. Rocker is an amazing partner, a great drawer, and a good listener. I also liked Rocker's monster, Mr. Soccer. I had so much fun!
    Your Friend,

  9. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    My buddy's monster is not exactly the same as mine. It's a little bit different. Some problems are because I might have wrote it wrong or maybe she accidentally skipped a line. One difference is that when I said horizontal rectangles, she did one rectangle and another rectangle surrounding it. When I was reading my own story, I noticed that I wrote pink square instead of orange square. I also recognized that I didn't mention three triangles on the arms. I only wrote triangles so my buddy didn't know how many triangles. Here are the monster parts that are correct. The two eyebrows are the same as mine. Also, the legs are absolutely perfect. They look identical to my picture. Finally, the last thing correct was the head color, which was green.
    I learned that it's hard to give directions because we make many mistakes and we also have to be very specific. In my opinion, I like this project because it was fun comparing our monsters together with students from Australia.
    Did you like this fun project?

    Love your blogging student,

  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My Australia buddy drew the stingers correctly. The phrase and the words “she has many stingers that are on the side” and “ they are small black lines that measure 1 cm” is correct. Next my Australia buddy did the antennas right. The phrase and the words “she has two small antennas that measure about 2 cm across” is correct.

    I didn't specify that the face was on the top of the body and the legs were at the bottom. Next, I didn't specify that there was a smile and it was blue. Also, I didn't write that the heart was in the middle of the blue part of the arch. I should have included there were blue eye lashes on the blue eyes. I also didn't say how thick the arches should have been and where they were located.

    Next time, I would add more descriptive paragraphs that describe what color the body is and where the colors should be located because it wasn't clear enough. In my writing, I didn't tell where the location was so my blogging buddy put the body colors in the wrong place. I would write the face is a semi circle on the top of the body and I could write the antennas are curvy little ovals on the top of her head.
    What I've learned so far, I need to write more descriptively and more clearly.

    Your Lovely Student,

  11. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    Hi, it's Sawyer. When I made my monster, my buddy got all of the colors right, but he accidentally drew three tentacles instead of nine. It turns out that the teacher accidentally typed a few things incorrectly. The monster still looked like a squid and his old-fashioned chimney was perfect!

    I learned that it's fun to see how other people interpret my words and descriptions.

    Your friend, Sawyer

  12. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My buddy from Australia had a few mistakes. But he had most of them correct. He did not put the spikes on the top of the left arm. The second thing that he got incorrect was that his eyes were not square but curvy. The third thing the my buddy got wrong was the teeth of my monster. He did not make the teeth look like vampire's teeth. The last thing he got wrong was the legs. He missed putting spikes on some part of the legs.

    My buddy did get the head drawn correctly. He made it hexagonal and red as I said. He also got the two arms right. The arms were L shaped as described. My friend also drew the sword on the bottom of the leg nicely.

    My buddy made a few mistakes. But everybody makes mistakes too. It is hard to read other peoples ideas.

    Your Student,


  13. Hi Mrs. Yollis,
    My monster was called "Susan the Shopping Spree." I think my partner Sarah did a pretty good job. Most of the differences were partly my fault. For example, I did not mention whether the hair was supposed to be curly or straight. In this case, it was supposed to be straight. Another example is the arms. I wasn't specific enough in explaining that they attach to the body on one of the vertices. In addition, my partner accidentally did not put any eyelashes, but that's ok. Also, another difference was that I said that the body should be in rainbow colors. I meant that the colors should be in the actual order just like the rainbow.

    Sometimes, what we want to say is hard to describe using words. Now I know what it means when people say, "A picture is worth a thousand words." For example, I said the stripes were going from top right to bottom left. I meant when you are looking at the monster, not when you ARE the monster. I also did not say that the eye pupils are looking to the right even though I drew them looking to the right. It's important to be specific about all the details you try to describe. Since I left that detail out, she drew the pupils facing forward.

    Overall, I still think that Sarah did an excellent job drawing, and I did a really good job describing my monster, Susan. She read my long description very well, and I think she is a great artist. In the words of Susan, "I've got to run! There's a sale at Macy's!"


  14. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    My Australian buddy, got the half-orange, half-green body correct. He also got the upside down T's for the legs correct, but, sadly, he forgot to color them blue. He had the yellow highlighter color for the eyes, and I thought, logically, that he could put the highlighter eyes into the orange part of the body, but, he read too fast.

    I learned to be very specific and not tell too much information in one sentence.



  15. Dear class,
    My buddy drew her monster almost the same as mine. She got pretty close. Her monster's body is shaped like a rectangle. Mine has the shape of a potato. Maybe she missed that part of my directions. I told her that the arms are between the green and the pink stripes. It was effective because my buddy drew the arms in the right place, the same size and the same color. I forgot to tell my buddy to draw the arms straight out. She drew them pointing down. I would add that the arms are to be drawn straight out from the body. Everything else was the same. I learned that I have to explain a lot to get it right.

  16. Dear Mrs. Yollis

    The monster drawings sure were really fun, but the writing was hard. My monster was called Snowbot. I got the eyes wrong because I accidentally said they were purple when they should have been brown. My buddy got the drill wrong because he drew it going three different ways. My Australian buddy almost drew Snowbot the way he was supposed to look!

    My buddy's monster was called Polk-a-dot. I drew two drafts, but I did not have time to work on the final draft so Lily drew Polk-a-dot for me.


  17. Hi Mrs. Yollis,

    I enjoyed seeing how my buddy interpreted what I wrote to draw his monster. I appreciate all the hard work put into the great drawing. I noticed a few differences. First, my buddy drew 8 swirls around the outside of the eyeball. My drawing has bigger swirls going through the eyeball. Also, my buddy only drew 3 tentacles on the monster, and there should have been 10. Finally, I wrote that the monster has 17 vertical black lines in its brain, and my buddy drew 19.

    It was really interesting to see how my buddy illustrated my words. I also liked see the comparisons in all of the other pictures.

    What did you find most interesting? Do you think we did a good job on our pictures based on our buddy's descriptions.

    See you tomorrow.

    Your friend,


  18. Dear class,

    I like my buddy butterfly. However, there are some differences with our butterflies. For example, her head is much wider than mine. But her eyes are the same oval shape as mine only hers are horizontal and mine are vertical. Her body seems a lot bigger than fourteen and a half cm. Her feet look like they are standing on two legs and mine look like they are standing on four legs.
    We do have a lot of the same features though. We both have the same amount of eye lashes on the top and bottom. We both have small cute black noses & mouths. Our antennas look very similar. We both have solid green bodies although hers is a lighter green. Overall, I thought our butterflies turn out great! I wish I can be a butterfly so I can fly to Australia and meet my buddy.

    Your friend,

  19. Dear Msr Yollis,
    Emma here, Kate's partner.

    Some sentances in my description, I think I should have changed would have been ones about the mouth and eyes. I don't know why my partner forgot the Fluffballs and leads, but I guess everyone makes mistakes, Ilike how she changed the mouth because it made the Ghost look more monster like. I like Holy the buttercup butterfly, and how she was obsessed with buttercups. Ithink that Michael did a very good job with his monster, even though it was complicated.

    Thanks for participating,

  20. Dear Mrs. Yollis' Class

    I really enjoyed reading all of your reflections on this amazing project you completed. I think it is neat to see how much you learned and enjoyed working with students from across the globe.

    Keep up the good work!

    Mrs. Ferrante


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