Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teaching Kids to Write

By "write" I am not talking about printing or handwriting per say, but rather the actual skill of putting thoughts into something on paper that makes sense. I had no idea how hard it was. You have to explain "audience" and "tense" and "first person vs. third person", etc., all while trying to coach them into putting stories into something that makes sense to some random person that might be reading it. Introduction, beginning, middle and end, consecutive events, a problem and resolution.'s really hard to teach. Brendan has quite a few writing assignments this year. One of the things he has to do is look at a picture and then make up a whole story. Who's in the picture, where are they, what is happening, what happened before this picture, what year is it, etc., etc., etc. So in the beginning of the week we start prepping for it. He gets to look at the picture and then we answer all the questions about it as a way to brainstorm and get ready for the writing assignment. So we did that. Today he had to write. After all that he still had no clue what we are doing! :) Everything in me wants to just write it for him...or more, tell him what I think he should write.
His picture this week was a picture of an old Model-T car flying through the air with somebody in it, a guy on the ground on a bicycle looking up at it in a residential neighborhood. I make him write all the brainstorming, but then for the actual story I let him dictate to me and I write for him....because the writing is still very slow.
Here's what he came up with: (posted with permission)
Written by Brendan:
It was 1967. We lived at 51st Ave. and Bell, in England. My Mom had a baby and she was going to the hospital in a flying car. There was only one car, so Dad went to work on a bicycle. The car flew because everyone had pixie dust. There were no clocks and no one knew what time it was, so most people went to bed late. When Dad came home from work, Dad said, "How was the baby at the hospital?" Mom said, "Ahhh, just fine. He cried a little bit."
The baby grew up to be an adult and have some kids of his own. They all lived happily ever after.
The end.

He told me to make sure to write at the end that this was a make believe story so people would know that it wasn't real. I assured him that it would be assumed because of the pixie dust and the flying car and such. I may just write my own story just to get it out and be able to move on! :)
Parenting=a constant letting go!


Anonymous said...

What a great start at writing a story! I can't wait to read what he is writing by the end of the school year. With you as his teacher to will be wonderful. You are doing a great job!! Love from the Marshmello

rachel said...

that. was. awesome!!!!!

Kim said...

What a great story, Brendan! Kudos to you, Kaylee, for resisting NOT writing for Brendan!

Kristi said...

It's a great story :) So funny and I am totally with you on this writing part. Journal writing is my least favorite part of Karleigh's homework. It's kind of like torture a slow, tedious, whine filled torture. But hey, at least they all lived happily ever after! :)

Anonymous said...

That is a good first try, but please suggest to him that adding a fishing element to the story would make it exceptional. Have him start with something easy like trout fishing, then he can move on to more exciting themes such as winter steelhead or deep sea fishing.
Uncle Bubba