Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Writing in Threes

Who: Students in elementary or middle school

What: Writing three paragraphs (or longer, if you choose) about related topics

How: For this assignment, tell your students to think in 3’s:  3 friends, 3 presidents, 3 favorite Bible passages, Father/Son/Holy Spirit, 3 characters in a favorite book, 3 favorite books, 3 favorite holidays, 3 inventions of Benjamin Franklin, 3 types of rocks…..  Whatever interests your children—fiction or non-fiction—can be the subject of this assignment.  They may even want to incorporate whatever they’re currently studying.

This would be a good follow-up assignment to Important Things, giving students additional practice with paragraph writing. Teach (or remind them) about the basic structure of a paragraph (topic sentence, supporting sentences, clincher sentence). Encourage them to focus their content, omitting anything from their paragraph which doesn't support the topic sentence.

Of course, it is not necessary to lock kids into a format. If they already have a "feel" for a paragraph--or if you simply want them to have the freedom to write without restraint--allow them to experiment and be creative. You can always address glaring issues when they revise and edit.

The final copy can be as simple as three paragraphs on a page or as creative as a filmstrip book, which you can find at the portfolder tutorial.

A Sample from Three Different Restaurants:

One of my favorite restaurants is Applebees. Their chicken fingers and fries are scrumptious. The kids' meals are hot. I like their activity books with tic-tac-toe and word searches. I like their drinks like lemonade, unsweetened iced tea, which Daddy drinks with a pit pat of sugar, and soda.  Sometimes it is quiet. I don't like when people smoke and drink beer at the bar. Applebees is a very delicious restaurant.

A Sample from Three Different Friends:

Kaitlyn, a helpful, kind friend, goes to the same church as I do. She is 8 years old, and she has red hair which usually has a headband in it. She rushes so quickly I think she could outrun her dog whose name is Casey. I enjoy playing tag and Jr. Monopoly with her on Tuesday nights.

Which "3" did your student choose? Feel free to leave a sample paragraph in the comments.

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