I am going to share a couple of ideas with you. These are things I have done for many years with my own children. In Part One, I shared about how I used the 1800’s McGuffey Readers. In Part Two, I shared how to teach your student to enjoy editing and proofreading.
In this section, I will explain how to develop fun writing ideas for your student. All you need is a dictionary, pen and paper. You will see how to get your children to think fast and have the ability to be creative when put on the spot.
You will be putting together a creative writing assignment. The student will either write fiction or a letter to a family member. You will provide the student with 10 words and a subject for the student to write about. That’s all you have to do!! Here are the details:
For A Fiction Assignment:
1. Get a Dictionary.
2. Look up Ten random words (an example will follow). Make sure your student is already familiar with these words. If not, you must provide a definition and an example sentence. For best results, make this as easy for him as possible.
3. Write each of these words on a piece of paper, numbered one to ten.
4. Come up with a Title for the assignment. This does not have to be the actual title of the story, but will tell the student what the subject must be about. The Title must be bizarre or difficult to use along with the selected words.
Here is an example:
“Cooking in the Kitchen”
Rules for Teacher:
1. Explain that the student must use each of these words in the story. Each word must also be underlined.
2. The story can be written any way the student likes, as long as it is about the required subject.
3. DO NOT correct your child’s paper!!!!!! This will only annoy and discourage him. The purpose of the writing assignment is to get your child in the habit of thinking quickly on his feet. He will be able to write anything, on the spur of the moment, without intimidation, if you follow these rules.
4. Read the story and compliment your student.
5. Do not expect the child to show the paper to other children unless he wants to.
6. Do not require the child to read the story out loud unless he wants to.
8. Save the paper in his file. This will be fun to read in a few years, and it will make the child feel happy to know it was “good enough” for you to save.
Other Fun title ideas for Fiction:
1. “Alone in the Supermarket at Night.”
2. “A Day at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.”
3. “I went to church alone.”
4. “A Houseguest.”
5. “The Day the children were in Charge.”
(Be sure to come up with a strange combination of 10 words to go with each of these subjects!)
For a Letter:
1. Follow the same directions above, with one difference. The letter is not fiction. It must be a real letter, written to a relative.
2. This can be hysterical, since there will be some strange words the child must use, when writing to “Aunt Jane.”
3. Make sure the student uses the proper opening and ending words (Dear Aunt Jane), and (Sincerely Yours).
1. Have Mom do the assignment as well. Let the children read her work and laugh along with her.
2. Invite Grandma or a Relative to do the assignment.
(I have often done this lesson along with the children and enjoyed it very much. We all had a great time reading each other’s work. On a few occasions, Grandma did the lessons with us too. She loved it and so did the children!)
How much time did this take for the teacher? About Five minutes to come up with the words and subject.
How often should you do this? This kind of assignment should be given daily. Or at least several times a week.
How to incorporate this into daily life: Mom might be in the kitchen peeling potatoes. She can take a quick break to search the dictionary. She will write down the words, come up with the subject title and then get back to supper! The child does not need any supervision to do the assignment.
**This is the last entry in our 3-part series on teaching writing. The next series: Creative ideas for teaching mental math.**