Sunday, June 7, 2009

School's Out for Summer....What Do You Know?

First of all, thank you for all the stories about your animals. I loved every single one of them. Each tale that I read could be made into a book. Some could go into anthologies or magazines. Others could go into picture books. And some could become that special series that kids can't wait to get their hands on to read again and again.

You are all terrific!

Now back to the business...I mean fun...of writing! I traveled to a second grade classroom last week and since last week I was feeling a little off, I decided to make it easy on myself. I wanted no prep time, just kid time.

Frequently, at the end of a school year, kids are asked to write about what their plans are for the summer. I decided to take a different approach. I asked the kids to write one sentence about what they learned during the school year. I told them it could be about anything from friendship to division.

The kids did what I asked. They wrote a sentence. One girl wrote, "I learned how to multiply."

Another boy wrote, "I learned about the water cycle."

Yet another child wrote, "I learned about rules."

Those were all good sentences...grammatically. But you know me. I was on a mission. I wanted those sentences to jump off the paper at me.

Caleb said, "You want those sentences to B I N G, right?"
I love Caleb. He gave me goosebumps. I wanted those sentences to bing and boing like a ping pong ball!

So, long story short, "I learned how to multiply," turned into "My cat had two tiger kittens last year. Last month she had three kittens. Only one was a tiger. The other two were as yellow as the sun. 3 x 2 = 6. My cat has had six kittens!"

"I learned about the water cycle," turned into, "Rain falls from the clouds and makes the creek behind my house get so deep it covers the bridge."

And, "I learned about rules" turned into, "I learned not to run on the blacktop because if I fall, I could skin my knees. I only run in the soft grass so if I fall I won't get hurt."


The kids painted pictures with their words. That's what I want you to do.

Writers: Write one sentence about something you have learned in the past year. Then paint a picture with your words to SHOW what you learned. This could get really interesting if you braindrop first!

Teachers and Parents: Braindrop first. Then do the same activity that I did with the second graders. Have fun! Join in...what DID you learn in the past year?

PS...I visited the zoo yesterday and came up with a plan for a different kind of writing journey we can take together. Later this week I'm going to post a story for you or your kids to end. I just have to get that story written. Hmmm....maybe I'll make it really challenging. We'll do it in as few words as possible. Stay tuned!


Sandy said...

What did I learn this year?
I learned that nothing is forever.
I learned that people you care for deeply will not always be with you, and they leave a hole...a big empty black hole. I'm trying to fill that big black hole with bright colors, bright memories.

Had to chuckle about the kid learning the rules.

Rae said...

What did I learn this year?

Today is the two month anniversary of my first blog and I have learned how to write with expression.

Each day as my blog progresses, I learn the words I write can be like fireworks igniting a page. I can fill my story with anticipation, color it with sparkle, then ease off with a fading whistle or abruptly end with an air cracking explosion.

MzzLily said...

I have learned that there is a whole world of caring wonderful people out there in BLogville, and tonight I introduced my granddaughter to them. She joined the ranks of Blogville at age eleven!

Bren said...

Thank you for visiting my Garden on Blogger. I envoy your writing. Writing was NEVER my best subject. I do enjoy sharing photos and painting! I would love to have a book of my Garden published someday.... where do you start?!!!

Enjoy this Bloom Tuesday Dear friend.

Suzanne said...

Another great post, Jan. You always put so much thought into these activities.


Sandy said...

Popped over to see your blog about journal writing and writing exercises as we travel to and from for summer activities

Anonymous said...

Popped over from Sandy's Space to learn how to keep kids talking or writing about their fun summer activities.