Writer’s Workshop Ideas- Fun, Engaging

A colleague in my K- 5 school asked for a few ideas about making writer’s workshop fun and engaging.  I love those questions because it allows me to be creative and gather ideas.  Here are a few ideas to get started… (If you have more please add them!)

  • Be passionate- write in front of the students and let them see you write and talk out loud about your process, about spelling, …
  • Draw pictures to go with the writing
  • Write stories to go with the pictures
  • Make comic books
  • Re-write comic books (the one you just made or one that was professionally made) into story format with dialogue and description
  • Let students write what they want- lists, stories, opinions, how-to, all I know about…, non-fiction or fiction, poems, … play with words
  • Find a real audience- another classroom, the hallway, a classroom in another school or another city, country, a blog, …
  • Design/ diagram something invented and explain how it works
  • Read/ tell the beginning of a story and have the students continue/ finish it
  • Act out a story and then have the students write the script
  • Write a script and then have the students act it out, or with puppets, or as a podcast or …
  • Writing prompts
  • Connect writing closely with reading or science or social studies
  • Shared writing
  • Do you have a class mascot (stuffed animal, live animal, …)?  Write the stories of the mascot- where from, past adventures, include pictures,
  • Class blog on kidblog.org
  • Add podcasts of students reading their writing on your page of the school’s website
  • Check out blog posts such as: http://tunstalltimes.blogspot.com/2014/08/engaging-writing-activities.html
  • Stick with the standards but let your mind wander and your creativity soar
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Irish Soda Bread

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day I offer my mom’s Irish Soda Bread recipe… again.  Enjoy!
MomsIrishSodaBreadMmmmmm!

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Saturday’s Sun

Playing tag with me
Between the West Side houses
Springtime rising up

Playing hide and seek
As I drive through shutter slats
Found, hidden, found, hid…

Olly oxen free
Winter’s snow gives way to life
No-sleeve freedom play

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After Her Death

Following my mother’s death
We fought about the things.
We argued over furniture and
Heirloom diamond rings.

The Waterford from Ireland,
And oil-on-canvas art,
Madam Alexander Dolls,
Keepsakes of the heart.

Two lifetimes worth of Kodak prints,
The sweaters knit by hand,
Great grandma’s China gravy boat,
Old stories of the land.
____________

“My shelves are full!”
“My car’s too small!”
“Antique things’ll break!”
“I’ve got no room
On floor or wall
So nothing will I take!”

That’s the way we argued,
Voices almost at a wail.
So then and there we opted
For a discount two-day sale.

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The Tooth Fairy: a True Story

Last Friday I read a story with a first grade student during his independent reading time. Actually, he read to me a story of the Tooth Fairy.  His ancestors of a few generations back came from Mexico (that will matter towards the end of this commentary).  Here is our conversation after he finished reading the story:

Student: I know that the Tooth Fairy is not real.
Me: No?  (I know that this student has older siblings and I wondered what they had told him.)
Student: No.  It’s not real.
Me:  What more can you tell me?
Student: No, it’s not a fairy.  It’s a ratoncito.

This is true!  In parts of Latin America it is not a fairy that leaves coins for a tooth it is a Ratoncito Pérez.

Posted in Education, español, Humor, Reading, Writer's Workshop, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cupboard

The ratty kitchen cupboard door
stood open every morning.
And everyday I told my kid,
“This is your final warning!

“You have to, must and always will
keep spices from the light
within the safety of the doors,
the cupboard closed up tight!”

“Sorry pop, it wasn’t me,”
the youngest one would say.
“I’d never harm the cinnamon.”
One day he moved away.

That open kitchen cupboard door
kept pestering my life.
Mistake! for it was not my child:
Was my forgetful wife.

“Oh honey, dear, please help me out
and do me a big favor:
Please close the cupboard door at night
so spices we can savor.”

“Don’t ‘honey me’ with open doors;
forgetful I am not.
I, too, protect the tarragon
and rind of apricot.”

After many years of open doors
she passed while sound asleep.
I cried for days, din’t eat a bite,
spent nights a‘counting sheep.

Then hunger knocked one afternoon,
I craved a spicy stew.
Aghast! the cupboard doors thrown wide!
I din’t know what to do!

***********

The cupboard doors I had removed,
And now I clearly see:
T’was not my son nor lovely wife,
The guilty one was me

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Writing Poem for Year’s End

Writing for year’s end
On paper thinking, today reflecting
Aimless thoughts a wander.
Judging not the honesty of this day,
The moment,
Tomorrow’s truth might morph.

But today I write
and today I know
I know
today.

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