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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Creative Writing Recommendation

Christmas break is upon us, from what I'm told. We're still doing school this week but I thought I'd spice it up a little for the younger kids, who are caught up on their work, and do some fun writing instead of the same-old-same-old. I pulled this book out yesterday and just have to mention it.  It's my "go to" creative writing book and is just a treasure trove of ideas that will encourage even the most reluctant of writers.



Yesterday the younger boys followed the suggestion on page 39 (of our version) and compiled a list of words that might make someone feel sick (vomit, bills, money, roller coaster, monster, etc.).

From there we took it a step further and wrote a short story, about a paragraph long, using complete sentences (and more than one) that might make someone sick. They fussed a bit about using good form but were so excited by the topic that that was quickly accepted. Their papers ended up being quite well written for young writers (we have some work to do on form, of course, but we're spending another day or two just getting the creative juices flowing).

The test of the success of their story was to read it to their (oversleeping) teenage sister and see if it made her sick.  She was thrilled.

Today we'll be trying a few things from the "Instead of write a story, try ..." page, which includes two full pages of writing ideas that aren't stories (I go back to this page a lot!), like write a ransom note, game rules, ballads, insults, used car description, and so much more!
 
I picked up my copy of the book ages ago at a yard sale or home schooling used book sale.  The original copyright is 1979 and it's got all that funk and flair of the times, full of enthusiasm and energy. It looks like this version on Amazon, copyright 1995, has added a few chapters and about 40 pages.

I've found this to be a great book for reluctant writers, kids who need their school routine shaken up a little, students who need to treat their brain to some new stretches and exercises, and teachers and mamas who need something new and different to keep everyone going. It's not a book that'll teach the skills for writing a good college entrance essay (actually, it could be very helpful with overcoming writers block), but it's a great curriculum supplement.

Have "go to" resources for encouraging learning? I'd love to hear about, and share, them.

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