June 18, 2013

Story in a Bag: Creative Writing

We're pushing through our last few weeks of school here at Linwood Academy.  I'm trying to make it as interesting as possible for the boys, because we are all soooo ready for a break.  But we have a few more things to finish up before we clear our kitchen table of all the books, papers, markers, erasers, pencils, and random crumbs and scraps.

This week, a creative writing project.  

I can't take full credit for this idea.  Creative Pinterest users inspired it.  (If you don't know what Pinterest is, you should absolutely go check it out.  You will thank me.)

I merged a story prompts idea with a blank book report form to create this project, which I'm dubbing Story in a Bag.

To begin, I foraged through the jungle that is my boys' bedroom and collected ten small objects (five for each boy), which I then placed into plastic gallon zipper bags labeled "Story Bag".  I didn't get fancy with the bags, but you could definitely take the time to decorate them, or, make an art project out of it and have the kids decorate them.

Tiger, tree, crayon, man, doctor (or nurse).

Tree, knight, giraffe, bowling pin, police woman.

The boys each chose a bag and opened it to discover which objects would make their stories.  They immediately began shouting out ideas popping into their heads.  They've never been so excited for a writing project in all our time home schooling!  (Note to self:  do this again.)

Next,  I gave each boy a modified book report form.  I found this form on Pinterest and thought, with some slight changes, it would be perfect for this project.  Where it originally asked the student to fill in the plot of whichever book they read, I changed it to have the boys fill in what the plot of their own as yet unwritten stories would be.  Where it asked the student what their favorite part of the book they read was, I changed it to have the boys tell about the setting and genre of their as yet unwritten stories.

Below are images of the book report forms - first, the original, then, my modified version.  You can click on my modified version to download it yourself, if you'd like to give this project a try.

The original.  A great form for regular book reports.
Modified version for use in this project.
Filling out these forms spawned even more creative ideas in my boys.  They couldn't stop talking over each other about what they wanted to write.  I managed to shush them enough so they could begin filling out their story forms and flesh out their new stories.  Here are their completed story forms:

Brandt's story form: The Missing Mr. Tree. He ended up changing his genre from comedy/mystery to fantasy/action.

Noah's story form: The Man, the Nurse, and the Talking Tiger.  He decided to write his story in the form of a play.

With their stories now outlined on the book report forms, they began writing their stories out, which is my favorite part of this project, because it employs lessons in grammar, spelling, penmanship, and dictionary skills all at once.  I love lessons that kill multiple birds with one stone!  Here they are, hard at work:

Both boys begged to keep their stories and report forms FOREVER!  They were so proud of their work.  I envision this project becoming perhaps a bi-monthly project next school year.

What sort of writing projects spur your kids on in creative writing?  What did you think of this project?

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