Monday, April 23, 2012


 Each week the children have various writing assignments.  There are many ways that the ideas for the writing assignments are generated: monthly themes, books we've read, discussions, and brainstorming. 

While we were studying Tools, we read a story by Chris Monroe,  Monkey with a Tool Belt.   In the story, the monkey uses a variety of very inventive tool such as a "twizzler" and "de-twizzler".   The monkey hears a strange noise in his house.  He guesses what could be making the noise.  One thought was, maybe "a family of very loud squirrels moved in".  I told the class to remind me later to tell them about a story about a squirrel family in the house.

That day's writing project was going to be, to invent a tool, and write a story about it.  Just as we were about to start, one of the children reminded me to tell my squirrel story.  After my story hands flew up around the room.  Many children had their own story about animals in their houses.  Thus, there became a choice of topics for writing, either a tool story or an animal in the house story.  

At writing time, children often get writers block.  We have been working on things you can do when this happens.  We discussed how  stories have characters and usually have some type of problem or conflict to keep the readers interested. One day we thought about how to create a character.  Together we had a brainstorming session.  Niko picked the name for the character and the rest of class told something about the character.  One child noticed that some of the ideas of the character could lead to problems in the story.  For example, his house didn't have a bathroom so this might mean the character needed to look for a new house.  After brainstorming together, each child tried to think of ideas for a character.  Andrés asked if he could make his list into a "wanted poster".  Creativity abounds.

Last Monday, the assignment was to create a planet.  The children could work by themselves or with a partner.  Three questions needed to be answered: what is the name of the planet, what does it look like, and what lives on the planet?  After ideas were formulated, they presented their planet ideas to the class.

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