Author Topic: Writing Exercises for Kids  (Read 10069 times)

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T. Pierce

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Writing Exercises for Kids
« on: March 06, 2008, 05:51 PM »
Does anyone have any terrific writing exercises for using with a class of elementary-aged students (grades 2-5)? Or can recommend any books that have good writing exercises for elementary kids (good meaning that the kids will feel successful and have fun doing it)?  I'm looking for something to use as a visiting author for a school that would like me to do in-class writing activities rather than assemblies.

Thanks,   :thanks
Terry P.

Offline Judith

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Re: Writing Exercises for Kids
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2008, 06:57 PM »
I like to get kids playing with words.  Since most workshops are of a shorter duration, this activity works well:  (I modified what I have done to make it less time consuming)
1. Create a list of words in 4 columns--nouns, adjectives, active verbs and -ing verbs, and distribute to students
2.  Have students cut a piece of paper into four squares  (or you can distribute 4 squares to each child)
3.  On one square students write 4 nouns from your list, one noun on each side of the square
4. Do the same with the adjectives, active verbs, and -ing verbs
5.  Students will write what I call a phrase poem by choosing an adjective and a noun for the first line (ie-wrinkled sunshine)
6.  Second line uses  an  -ing verb and a student created modifying phrase   (ie-dancing through green leaves )
7.  The last line uses one active verb from the verb card  and another student created modifying phrase (ie-kisses September apples )

I have used this exercise with second through sixth grades with much success.  Obviously you need to demonstrate, but this is the idea.

I hope you can understand the directions.  If not, ask for clarification.

Judith
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SproutQ

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Re: Writing Exercises for Kids
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2008, 12:23 PM »
Here is a fast one that takes no equipment.

Start with a story in a circle.  Each student gets to say one and only one word. 
Rules: Your word has to make grammatic and literary sense.  If you take someone else's turn, you lose yours.  If you want, you can ask others to raise their hands and help you think of one.
Write the story down on the board as it develops.  After a few times around (depending on a good stopping point), have the kids write the rest of the story themselves, or in pairs.

Murph

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Re: Writing Exercises for Kids
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2008, 01:44 PM »
Teach them the difference between showing and telling. Many students that age write summaries instead of narratives. Choose an event many of them will have experience with, such as the first time they rode their bike without training wheels or the first time they jumped off the diving board. Ask them to visualize that day as clearly as possible and have them list all the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, things people said, etc. of that moment. Write these on the board and then show them how to get started. "It was a cool, September afternoon..." Let them write the rest of the story.


T. Pierce

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Re: Writing Exercises for Kids
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2008, 05:16 PM »
Thanks so much, Judith, SproutQ and Murph!  All three are different and sound like a lot of fun to do.  I'm taking notes... :writing3

Cheers,
Terry P.

pschmatz

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Re: Writing Exercises for Kids
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 08:05 AM »
Here's one I used with fourth graders that worked really well:

Kids number their papers 1-5.  Then, tell them to look around the room and spot 5 objects.  Can't be people.  Write the 5 objects down.  They don't have much time to do this, maybe 2-3 minutes.  Pressure the slow ones to hurry up so they don't think too much.  Then, go around the room and have each kid read ONE item from their list that no one else has read yet.  When they're done, ask for a show of hands of how many kids still have items on their paper that nobody has mentioned.

When I did this, every single kid had at least one unmentioned item on their list.  I used this as a jumping-off point for how nobody sees what they see and nobody else can tell their story.  It's a short exercise, but can easily lead into others.

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Re: Writing Exercises for Kids
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 02:39 PM »
If you don't mind a bit of self-promotion here ( :D) I've written two books on writing workshops. These are based on my ten years of working with kids at James Thurber Writing Academy, a community program.

"Writing Club: A Year of Writing Workshops for Grades 2-5" and "Writing Club II: A Year of Writing Workshops for Grades K-2" are both from Linworth Publishing and can be purchased at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

If you want to focus on a specific skill or concept, I could probably suggest an activity. Feel free to PM me.

Just off the top of my head, one of the most successful activities I've done was to have kids rewrite the Cinderella story. This was with 2nd graders and first, I shared three different versions: an urban setting (and rhyming) book, one with a boy main character and one with a modern-day MC (our own Ellen Jackson's "Cinder Edna!"). Next, I we talked about what the author changed (ie: setting, the "ball", ending etc). Finally, I had them write their own versions. Many were incredibly creative and funny. Since kids already know how the story will go (or the basic idea) they are free to not worry about that aspect of writng and just have fun tweaking a few key points to make the story their own.

 
Eliza Bing Is (Not) A Big, Fat Quitter (Holiday House, 2014) *a Junior Library Guild Selection*
To The Stars! (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2016)

Offline Liz Straw

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Re: Writing Exercises for Kids
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2008, 06:24 PM »
I used pictures from magazines.  The type where when the advertising is cut away you have a terrific photograph that has endless possibilities.  (This was actually an idea from college and got an excellent grade on it, the teacher praise how well I center my pictures on the poster board.  I think some of the members of the class measured, while I just eyeballed the suckers and slapped them on. :hahaha

Each child can pick a picture and write a story about it, or you can put one picture in the center of a group of students and they come up with a story and write it out. 

Make sure to have listed the key elements of a story, so students can check to see if they have included them.

Liz
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

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T. Pierce

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Re: Writing Exercises for Kids
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 06:04 AM »
Thanks so much for all of your ideas!  These are some great activities.

Cheers,
Terry P.