Writing seems to be an activity that causes a lot of fuss in the classroom. What if writing were something we could physical touch and build? Here are some ideas you could utilize in your classroom to inspire you student’s writing buy make the prewriting activities more physical and fun to develop.
Jenga Blocks. Each color represents a part of the story or the essay. As the teacher you would write out different ways to start the piece, way to transition or a plot twist, and then different types of or ways to end the story or essay. Students would physically dig through the blocks, put them together and then line them up in a way that they like best. They take this general outline/concept and run with it to create their first drafts. They can revisit the blocks at any time and switch it out if they don’t like how they writing is turning out. They still have a deadline, but the freedom to make revisions and changes as they need to throughout the time in the class they have set aside for this writing project.
Lego Essay Structure Activity. Get students their own bag on legos. They need to come up with a key for the lego blocks and build a basic structure of an essay using legos. They should decide which part of the essay is represented by which kind of block. Give them a time limit and then have them share their essay structures out with the class. Explain what each lego represents. To help your students have a list of essay terms for them to use and identify in their structure. For example you list may be in the correct order you what from them or jumbled up. Terms would include, hook, bridge, summary, thesis, transition, main point (claim), supporting evidence, reasoning, restate the prompt, restate reasoning, conclusion. Something along those lines.
Model or Clay Activity. For a creative writing piece, you could have students first build a 3D model of a setting with characters inside. It provides a snapshot, some visual and easily manipulated physically. Once students have completed this step, they use what they’ve created to write a short story or narrative about their scene. They get the freedom to make it up. Ask them questions about the characters, how do they know each other, how are they feeling, what is the basic situation they are in, what conflict are they facing, how will they resolve the problem? This will help encourage more thoughts and ideas, and anything they say or come up with give them praise and let them know that they are doing exactly what they need to be doing for the assignment.
Encouragement and positivity is key to getting students to perform in all of the writing assignments. You will love the outcome as you watch your students physically manipulate objects, many students will final have that “Ah ha!” moment you’ve been looking for when it comes to writing. For a lot of students, adding in a physical component to their writing assignments will give them what they needed for things to click when it comes to starting their writing or developing their essay structure, or even coming up with an original story.
What ways to do add in physical components to your students writing? Comment below and let’s talk about that! Follow, share, like, and subscribe for the latest article. Follow me on Twitter at @jessica_senesac. Until next time ChalkItUppers!
Written by Jessica Senesac