Writing Lessons: Build Your Own

 

How are you teaching your kids to write?

Following a set curriculum? Making it up as you go? Somewhere in between?

 

Through the years we've followed a set curriculum and it just didn't seem to stick. I'm not sure why, perhaps it's just the way my kids are wired.

Writing is a passion of mine. It's what I do day in and day out. If I couldn't write I'd shrivel up and die. No hyperbole here.

 

I want this for my kids.

 

I know they can't be just like me, and that's for the best. I don't need them to have this incredible driving passion for writing.

I also don't want them to look like all those nincompoops I see all over the internet that can't string words together, nor spell them correctly.

 

Where are my talons so I can scratch my eyes out?

 

*digs in diaper bag*

Found 'em!

 

I want my children to be intelligent human beings capable of sharing their intelligence in many forms and mediums.

In order to do this I've rethought our method.  I'm so freaking excited about it I could pass out from excitement fumes!

 

writing lessons

 

Let me just tell you what we're doing. What I know so far, and what I don't know so far. After that maybe you can help me fill in the gaps. Sound like a plan?

The basic plan

[Tweet "Write something every day. "]

The slightly more complicated version

I know, I'm being a pill (as my Mama would say with a quick snap of the dishtowel).

5

My goals for the kiddos

Since I can't just say "be amazing writers" I need some measurable goals.

  • Record their daily life
  • Learn letter writing skills
  • Develop relationships with far away family
  • Connect in meaningful ways with the world around them
  • Understand structure of sentences, paragraphs, essays, stories
  • Have ownership of their writing
  • Learn grammar rules and use them well

Okay, maybe those aren't yet measurable. I'm a filthy liar, what can I say?  I'll get right on that.

 

What the heck are they gonna write?

Here's what I've got so far.  I've included some links for your inspiration.

 

Monthly Newsletter

I came up with this when doing my round up of Back to School ideas.

Create a monthly newsletter.

What a cool way to help our parents and family connect with my children!

  • Share things they've written over the month: poems, stories, papers, etc.
  • Gymnastics and piano updates
  • Share a funny story that happened
  • Share a field trip experience
  • Let them know what's planned for next month.

The possibilities are endless!

I can't wait to start this up. I'll have this blog post to keep me accountable (Hi Mom)!

 

Poems

I'm not a big poetry person. I have nothing against it.

Wait... I lied (again), I do remember a stint back in college where I wrote a ton of poetry. It was awesome. I still remember a poem I wrote and gave to a guy (who broke up with me the day after I gave it to him - guess it was creepy :/ ).

 

Okay, I like some  poetry.

It would be fun for the kids to write acrostic poems for holidays, or just any other type of poems for holidays. I remember learning about haiku and thinking they were pretty cool. They might be a bit young for them this year, but it's on my to-teach list.

 

Letters, Postcards, Pen Pals

We'll write letters to family members. We have a billion of them. They could write one a week and still not get to all of them!

They can write letters to companies they love: LEGO, Hasbro, Barbie, American Girls, Disney characters (send it self addressed and they'll write you back), etc.

They could write the President, the Mayor, the Governor of Oregon, etc. Anyone of influence, anyone they admire.

We could do this!

I found a homeschooling pen pal group. I'm sure there are more if I just Google it!

*Side note - where would be without Google? Probably still stuck in the early 90's. (Fun fact, they started Sept 4, 1998)

 

Essays, Research Papers

We actually have a separate time set aside to do this kind of writing that we'll be using for KONOS.

They will have a separate paper they'll write based on a subject they're interested in. Maybe they want to write about creating board games, a famous gymnast, etc, etc.

 

Journals

I found this pretty cool Q&A book.

I also found this awesome idea. I bought the index cards, then realized they're the wrong size. But I haven't figured out a container for them.

The oldest 2 have composition notebooks I'll have them decorate and use as journals. I'm not sure if I want to do both the index cards and the bigger journals.

What do you think?

 

Stories

  • My book of writing prompts. Here are some other ones.
  • We made story stones last year that they can use to come up with a story.
  • Find a picture we like and then each create our own stories about it.
  • Story Cubes.
  • Short ones, long ones, and itty bitty ones.

I was at a teacher conference this last week and they had a great idea of modeling your own story after another book we read.

For instance, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carlyle. We could write our own book about what so and so sees and model it in the same style. Find a fairy tale -- like Cinderella and write it from someone else's perspective. The possibilities are mind boggling. And thrilling!

 

We'll be making our own books! I've got some blank books for us to use and we'll make some more as an art project as well.

Emails

It could be fun for me to set up an email account for the kids and have them email friends and family. I'd keep it safe and it's good typing practice.

 

Their own dictionary

We'll create our own dictionaries from our this year's vocab words.

I'm not sure how to do it in a way to keep it alphabetical. Maybe type it out instead of hand write it? Or just a page for each letter and not worry about alphabetical order. Any ideas?

 

Scripts for their videos

My kids loooove YouTube. My sons watch video game tutorials and reviews. They watch board game tutorials and reviews. They watch LEGO reviews and videos. My oldest daughter watches makeup tutorials, Littlest Pet Shop stories, and baking tutorials.

They are always pretending to make their own. Now they can!

They will write their own scripts for a review or tutorial. They also can write plays for their toys to act out and for them to act out.  I'll keep the videos private and share every once in a while.

 

Rules for their games

My kids, especially TC, love to make up their own games. TC will draw out his own board games. It's awesome. He'll come up with the rules as well. Now he'll write those rules down and really think about them and how they'll work out.

 

Setting it all up

I've created a writing station (inspired by this one) in our homeschool closet! I just set it up yesterday and it hasn't been road tested, but that's okay! I'll tweak it if necessary!

 

writing center 1a

 

1 = Bulletin board with writing resources.

2 = Letter writing materials, dictionary, thesaurus, addresses, cute mailboxes for their own notes to each other.

3 = White stack of blank books, caddies to carry supplies, silver box filled with pre-made homemade cards for holidays, brown box holds our AAS materials.

 

writing center 2a

 

1 = Letter and envelope guides, alphabet strips (can be taken to seat) and chart, and stamps.

2 = List of people they can write, folder of various book report pages.

3 = place to put our unit's vocabulary and cool printable to help teach them how to self edit.

 

writing center 3a

1 = Lots of paper.

2 = Reference books and eventually books we're currently reading.

3 = Various books sorted by level.

4 = Harry Potter and American Girls!

5 = Some of our art supplies.

6 = Learning materials for Sweet Cheeks.

7 = MathUSee blocks and white boards.

 

Picking what we'll do

I've blocked out 30 minutes every morning for the kids to work on writing.

On Mondays I will have an extra hour blocked out as well for writing.

 

I'm not exactly firm on how we'll plan the projects. Perhaps devote one writing project to one week.

For instance, if they're writing a story, give them every morning to work on it and extra time during Monday's hour block. If they finish it earlier they work on something else, of course.

Depending on the project they may not need a whole week to get it done.

I'm going to be somewhat flexible with the timing.  I will need some control over the projects or else we'd probably only be writing scripts for their videos.

I'll think about this more as we go and come up with a solid plan, but a loose schedule.

 

When thinking about our new writing plan I feel like this guy:

 

♥ Rochelle

Tell me your ideas!

What am I missing?

What have you tried that your kids loved?

What didn't work?

Follow Rochelle Barlow's board Homeschool + Writing and Reading on Pinterest. Check out my Pinterest board for Reading and Writing ideas. I'll be adding to this board all year long!

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