With Thanksgiving around the corner, of course we need to stop and think about all the things we are thankful for. Having students create crafts and pictures of turkeys makes for fun activities and there’s always the wonderful writing prompt: “What are you thankful for?”
Big Universe gives us some fun options for producing those writing prompts through the writing platform. Students can create a few slides or an entire book that tells and illustrates the things they are most thankful for.
But there are other things students can write about using this great platform. Here are some thoughtful, thankful and thrilling prompts to try!
- Name three things you are thankful for this season and describe them in detail. Create a page for each thing that includes the description and an illustration.
- Tell the story of Thanksgiving from the turkey’s point of view. How does the turkey feel about the day and all the festivities?
- If there was one thing you could change about Thanksgiving, what would it be? Being respectful, describe what you would change and why.Tell the history of Thanksgiving. Describe the relationship between the pilgrims and Native Americans. How did they help each other on the first Thanksgiving?
- Describe your Thanksgiving traditions. How does your family celebrate the holiday? What special things do you do or eat on that day?
For each assignment, students should design a cover and title page for their online books and include text and illustration on each page.
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection as much as it is for giving thanks. Students who take the time to create an ebook will certainly be able to do both.
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Enjoy the week!
Posted on December 20, 2009 by Suzan Woodard in Personal Experiences, Uncategorized.
Tags: Big Universe, Books, creativity, Reading, writers block, writing, writing creatively, Writing prompts, writing with children
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If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you know what it’s like to have the words dry up. It’s like you’re dying of thirst, and the rusty ol’ spigot just won’t give up a drop.
I probably felt that most intensely as a newspaper reporter and editor with a daily deadline. Writing facts in an orderly fashion was easy enough, but I worked in the Feature Department, so creativity was in high demand. Clever headlines. Intriguing lead sentences. Weekly humor columns. (Funny can’t be forced.)
It wasn’t long before I learned the merits of a “slush file” – also known as a backlog. I kept a file with random ideas, outlines of columns, and puns to prompt creative headlines when I was in a pinch.
I also made a habit of reading the news feeds and other literature resources, jotting down interesting facts and thought-provoking quotes – all stored away to use like one of those yeast bread “starters” that periodically get passed around the office and among friends.
You can do the same for children, who claim they can’t think of anything to write about. Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing.
- Provide physical prompts. Place a dog collar on a stool or a deflated football, a heart-shaped box of chocolates with one candy missing or a gift-wrapped box. Ask “How did this get here?” or “Tell me the story behind this item.” Or, use an intriguing photo.
- Make it safe. While I think spelling and grammar are important, it is crucial to avoid striking fear of failure in the young writer. It is more important to nurture the joy of storytelling and the beauty of words. The mechanics will follow.
- Give a fun situational prompt. a.) “If you could have three wishes, what would they be?” b.) “If I were invisible, I….” c.) “If you had to live on an island by yourself for a year, what 5 things would you take with you?”
- Use words to connect to others. Encourage kids to make cards for friends and grandparents – visual and language arts rolled into one. Plus, it teaches them to think of others: thank you notes, get well cards, holiday greetings. (My kids loved getting to add their two cents to the Christmas letter.)
- Mimic a book character. Give a verbal prompt and ask your child to write something in the voice of a book character with whom they are familiar – the Cat in the Hat or Junie B. Jones, for example. “It’s fun, I tell you.”
- Allow a little fun. Make writing notes in class “legal” on Thursday afternoons or turn on some music for 10 minutes and have kids take part in a written “Word Spill.”
- Ask kids to be convincing. Encourage children to write a persuasive paragraph about a trip they would like to take or why they would like a particular toy.
- Keep a family meeting notebook. I knew one family with five girls who kept notebooks in which their children could write anything: Why they got mad. How they broke the vase in the den. A prayer request. A thank you note. A joke.
- Tap humor. Kids get spelling and vocabulary words for school and often are required to use them in sentences. When my girls dragged their feet, I encouraged them to have fun with their words. Anything was legal as long as it wasn’t mean-spirited. They ended up laughing and liked to read their favorite sentences to me. “Mom grumbled when I ate her last piece of delicious dark chocolate.”
- Gravitate toward superlatives. Kids love them. “Blank is the worst food in the entire world.” Tell them to write three sentences explaining why. Or, “My cat is the best pet because….”
- Let kids lock up secrets. Diaries don’t entice all children to write, but a book with a lock and key hints at secrets and treasure. Write a secret. Lock it up. Hide the key! Or, have children write clues for a big treasure hunt.
- Read books. What can I say? I saved the best for last. Good books breed active imaginations. Books expand the mind until the words must flow somewhere. (Grab pencil and paper, a recording device or the easy-to-use authoring tool at BigUniverse.com to record the creative stories that result.)
I’m sure there are a gazillion other great ideas out there. Please share how you encouraged the children in your life to write!