The Magic Hat – Mid – Week Focus – Writing Prompts

Hats off to teachers…it’s time for Mid – Week Focus!

Mid – Week Focus is all about quick and easy ways to approach teaching to keep kids on task in any instructional setting.

Let’s share insight and practical ideas. Let’s blend fun with function, and LET’S HELP KIDS WANT TO WRITE BY OFFERING INSPIRING WRITING PROMPTS.

What’s under the magic hat today?

What’s under the Magic Hat today? A shower full of poetry  writing fun.

Background: I was talking last week with a woman named Zinaida (Zeen-eye-da); she was born and raised in the Ukraine.

Zinaida told me that her daughter’s been having trouble with school writing assignments. As we talked about creating home-based writing prompts to help the girl get started, Zinaida’s face lit up when she said that the coolest prompt for her daughter is a hot one…the shower!

Just like magic…a shower of new attentionology tricks presented themselves…here’s one:

MAKE A SPLASH WITH YOUR WRITING – Share this trick with parents in your next school update. Water inspires the muse in all of us. Research supports this assertion. Don’t know why, but I know it to be true in my own writing experience. Encourage parents to try this trick at home with students in grades 2 – 5. Make a game of it. Here’s how to play:

1. Tell your child that you’re setting aside a time (maybe 40 minutes) for a shower or bath that evening and a game called Make a Splash with Writing!

2. Suggest that your child let her/his mind wander to a favorite place with water; the beach, a lake, river, pond. Encourage your child to picture time there using all five senses (and get scrubbed up, too!)

3. Immediately after your child has dried off and slipped into pajamas, meet up at a table with notebook paper, a sharpened pencil, and if possible, a new Splash Writing Folder decorated with a water theme, like dolphins splashing in the ocean, for example.

4. Help your child get started writing a poem about water. Prompt him/her by asking what he/she saw, heard, smelled, touched, and if relevant, tasted (think marshmallows toasted over a campfire by the lake).

5. Remind your child (and yourself) that poetry doesn’t have to rhyme, but certainly can if rhyming words come easily to mind.

6. Most of all, enjoy the Make a Splash with Writing game together. Your child will begin to associate writing with fun. This is key to success!

As you know, a lot of parents WANT to help their children succeed with core skills, including writing, but simply don’t know HOW TO HELP. Offering the attentionology trick outlined above gives parents a blueprint  for a special kind of homework time.

Will this trick work in school? Absolutely, with some revisions. Obviously you can’t have kids taking showers. But, you CAN IMMERSE

Water worlds inspire the poetry muse in all of us!

THE CLASS IN A WATERY WORLD as an introduction to poetry writing about water by reading a few short poems about water from a book with illustrations, like you see in my blog pic here, and by passing around shells like the one shown with the book. Then you can choose to:

1) show a video about the ocean or another water environment (makes for a good science-writing connection).

2) play a soundtrack that features water, like a recording of ocean waves splashing on the beach.

3) invite your students to use blue, green, (water colors) markers or crayons to quickly draw pictures of water on white paper, enabling them to “see” water.

4) instruct the kids to write poems about their pictures.

Over the years, I’ve heard many teachers, parents and students complain about end-of-grade writing tests that start with boring or unclear writing prompts. What’s been your experience? Please send a comment and let me know. Send your ideas for attention-getting writing prompts, too. I’m saving others that I have for upcoming blogs.

Stop by next Wednesday for more Mid-Week Focus. On Monday Attentionology will be back with more magic. Meanwhile, The Attentionology Traveler is traveling on.

All the best,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers, Mid-Week Focus
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students continue to use lackluster verbs in their writing.

Solution: Show toy cars and pretend to make them zip across a page, telling the class that good writing includes action words (verbs) that have "zip." Ask the class for examples of "zippy" verbs like zoom, race, flash, rush, etc.

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