These sunny Spring days are a perfect inspiration for a short story or poem. But where to start? Writing...whether it's a poem, a book report, or a business letter, we all have to do it. A difficult skill for many students, it will be part of each of their lives. This issue of Class Ideas hopes to help you get your students brains thinking and pens writing.
You'll find an article on a fun and creative writing strategy to get students excited about writing. Then you can check out links to great sites with reference information, lesson ideas and even games and other kids' writing. For a quick start, download the free activity pages and hand out to students. And as always, don't miss the subscriber-only special offer.
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Are your students tired of responding to prompts on their own when it's time for a creative writing lesson? Here's a fun way to get groups of students working together to build both teamwork and writing skills.
What is it?
Shared writing by small groups of students.
Who is it for?
Students in grades 2-8, in groups of four or five.
How long does it take?
45 minutes (including time for sharing)
What is needed?
paper, pencils or pens
How is it done?
1. Organize students into groups of four or five.
2. Give each group a sheet of paper and have one student (the group leader) copy a title and beginning sentence from the board. For example:
The Gold Medal
Joshua?s mom and dad looked after his health and he was very strong for his age.
3. The paper is then passed to the student on the right, who continues the story by adding a new sentence.
4. This procedure is repeated until the story reaches the last student, who is told to write the second to last sentence.
5. The paper is returned to the group leader, who writes the concluding sentence.
6. The group reads its story to ensure that it makes sense and to make any corrections considered necessary.
7. A selected student from each group reads the story to the class.
? Other familiar text types can be written cooperatively, for instance, procedures, reports, etc.
? Stories can be edited by the group, then typeset in a word processing application on the computer.
Can the students:
? work cooperatively?
? sequence ideas?
? follow-on to produce cohesive text?
? read and understand the text?
? identify errors and edit text?
? understand the requirements of the particular text form?
This month's downloadable activity pages come from two World Teachers Press books, Writing Frameworks and 60 Writing Topics. The pages from Writing Frameworks cover writing narratives, while the pages from 60 Writing Topics provide four writing prompts for students. The activities range from grades 2 to 7, so there's something for just about everyone.
The Internet provides endless resources for teachers. Here are five great sites to get you started. From an article on teaching creative writing at readingrockets.org to a detailed grammar site, you'll find some great background information. There's also a site for your students to read other kids' writing, submit their own, play games and more. And don't miss readwritethink.org's site or the Story Writing with Arthur lesson at pbskids.org.
Build your students' numeracy skills with our next issue of Class Ideas. Summer will be fast approaching and our article on playing games to work on skills while having fun is great for filling time on those last days. Don't miss this fun but meaningful issue.