{ Today in School… }

angelina-litvin-32188-unsplash

Every Monday or Tuesday, I view the WordPress word prompt and offer it up as an assignment to my little band of (homeschooled) students.

I know it sounds crazy, but most days, they really like this.

I’d like to think it’s because they love the writing process and the literary satisfaction of creative thoughts being visually voiced.

But, it’s probably just because I bribe them with the promise of skipping the usual boring workbook pages.

Either way, I guess it’s productive and beneficial for many reasons:

  • It’s good writing practice.
  • It’s good speaking practice.
  • It’s good practice being a gracious audience and
  • It doesn’t always come easy, but it’s good practice giving positive feedback to others.

One child sits in front of a computer, busily typing.  One child eeks out words sparsely, with a pained look on the face. Another is scrawling words with a pencil so fast, the work is barely legible.  Spelling doesn’t matter at this point — just write what you are thinking.

After about 20 minutes, we share our pieces.  And, I have to say…it’s incredible what they come up with.  Everyone has something unique to offer.

My standard response is: “That sounds like the start of a great story!  Next time we do a word prompt, why don’t you continue the story?”

But they never do.

Today’s word was “identical” and today’s excerpt is from 13-year-old Mo:

 Leopold Larry

So begins the adventures of Leopold Larry. Larry Hillenburger was born on Leopold street in southern New York City. He was an only child. And it was true that if he wanted to, he could take over the world with several clicks of several buttons. However, Larry did not carry out such a task due to his strong morals. Larry could only do such a thing due to several impressive computers. He had found a way to hack into all of the wireless nuclear defense & offense systems.

Now, enough of all the talk about Larry’s scheming. Larry, at the time our story takes place, is 14. He has just finished a grueling year of self-tutoring. The reason that it had been hard for him was because he was acting as both teacher and student. As the teacher, he had to deal with a stubborn and rebellious student, and as student, he had to adjust to the strict teacher, dull sessions and much else besides. Also Larry had no siblings; much less a twin, much less still, an identical one…

Photo credit: Angelina Litvin

{ Un-Saintly Samples }

The light bulb went on recently.

I am a homeschool educator and if I’m going to spend time writing these “Daily Word Prompt” posts, I should probably pass along the learning and inspiration to my students (my children.)

Duh.

That way, I can

  • Justify spending time in writing exercise
  • Share and pass along the learning
  • Give them the opportunity to exercise their writing muscles

Most of all, I want them to see that you can just dive into writing.  Do it regularly. Don’t stare at a page for wasted minutes, just move your pen or mouse and start writing.

Very important: Spelling doesn’t matter in these exercises. The focus is to loosen up the flow of writing, making it fun & easy.

During the last week, I have shared the “word prompt of the day” with them.

Then, I give them one other challenge, such as:

  • use one of your spelling or geography words in your paragraph
  • include a few hyphenated compound words
  • Use “island” or the specific name of an island (we are studying islands this year.)

Someone even asked for the new word prompt today before breakfast!

They are allowed to bring up their laptops and start in.  This gives them something to do while everybody migrates to the work table…and it gives me time to make that second cup of coffee.

They are allowed around 15 – 20 minutes at the beginning of our school day for these writing exercises.

Today’s word: saintly.  They can use the negative “unsaintly” also.

(Most everyone liked using “unsaintly” instead of “saintly.” Hmmm….)

Today’s extra challenge: use at least one of this week’s geography vocabulary words.

  • Marco, age 10 wrote this:

The unsaintly, unshaven robber stole some money from the Commerce Creek Bank.  He hid it inside the hollow tree.  An alarm went off.  The police came.  They found no evidence or fingerprints.

  • Here is another, by 9-year-old Gianny:

Hello, my name is Daniel.  I am camping with my dad, next to a humongous waterfall.  Some people think camping on a Sunday is unsaintly.  I don’t think so because when I look at a waterfall, I can praise God for what He made. 

  • Ava, age 12 is a prolific writer and here is an excerpt of today’s work:

Thunder rumbled, lightning flashed, rain pounded on the rooftop.  Little Marie tossed and turned in her bed.  She could never go back to sleep in the middle of a thunderstorm, knowing that the creek just in back of her house could easily swamp their house as soon as it got too high.  Marie could finally take no more.  She pushed the warm, fluffy covers away from her and slid her feet into her white cotton slippers.  It was dark in the room, despite the angry flashes from outside…

  • 13-year-old Mo has the beginnings of a novel. Each day’s challenge builds on the story the day before.
  • 14-year-old Clara writes an excellent “how to” / step-by-step piece every day.  Her work is amusing and well-crafted.

This experiment has me surprised and happy.  They really like taking this time first thing to write.  They look eager, but relaxed. It’s a great way to start our school day.

I wish we would have started this in September.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

{ Upside-Down Adventure }

IMG_20170528_074110.jpgThis is how we encourage writing with our kids:

1. My child has some event that seems worthy enough to tell mom about. It could be a happening with other kids, a sad movie he saw, or a dream, etc.  I tell him to write it down, and I will type it out.  We do this often.  Sometimes, I re-write it as a news report, poem, or article. (Good writing practice for me.)

2.  At the end of the school year, I collect these informal pieces, plus the reports and essays they have written for school.  We deliver these to Office Max, where they assemble the papers into a spiral bound book. It’s cheap: $3 – $4, depending on the book thickness.  The result:

  • a record that we have accomplished something for the school year
  • a memory book of stories, dreams and events
  • a way to show student progress in writing ability, year by year
  • something special to set on their graduation open house table.
  • a reason for grandparents to smile
  • a feel-good addition to our homeschool

My son’s recent tree adventure prompted this writing activity:

Marco’s version:

One day, I climbed a tree.  The tree was tall. It had a lot of branches. I was getting a view of the house and the road.  When I was getting down and my foot could not reach the branch, then I slipped.  And I was hanging upside-down.  I yelled for help.

Ava came first. She saw my leg, stuck in the tree.  She held onto me, so I would not fall into the stinging nettles.  Soon Gino came.  He pushed me back up into the tree and I got my foot unstuck.  I climbed out of the tree and put my shoes back on because they had fallen off.  Then I said “thank you” to Gino and Ava and I walked back to the house.   The End.

Mom’s version:

A nine-year old boy narrowly escaped impact yesterday when he hung upside down from a tree branch until rescued by siblings.

Marco regularly climbs the same tall basswood tree on his rural Midwest property.

“I like it because I can see the whole house and the highway when I’m way up there,” he says.

From an upright position, Marco doesn’t fear heights.  But yesterday, when he fell head first and dangled by a caught foot, he was afraid no one would hear his cries for help.

“I started to climb down, but I slipped. I yelled for help, but no one came at first.”

Ava, his eleven-year-old sister, was the first to hear him.  She ran over and held on to him, so he wouldn’t fall into a patch of stinging nettle plants. Gino, 16, followed, lifting Marco’s foot clear of the branch.

The relieved boy gathered his fallen shoes, thanked his siblings, and ran back to the house.

Shaking, Marco told his story to the rest of the family.

“I’m thankful I didn’t fall into the stinging nettles. God protected me.”

~ Lisa

Survive“>

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/survive/