Get them outside for the WRITE reasons

Here is a great way to encourage children to get off the screens for a while, and write a book!!  Many of us are concerned that kids aren’t getting enough physical exercise, but this post hopes to encourage cognitive exercise:

GG with phone

We had a snow and ice storm in the Northeast this past week, and I thought it was the purr-fect opportunity to encourage elementary school children to write a class book. Yippee! We actually had a day off, even though the veteran teachers told me, “This school never closes!”

IMG_2355 The Snowy Day

First I read the book,  The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I asked each of them to tell us what they did on their day off. Everyone had a chance to share and think about how to verbalize their thoughts. I gave them each a piece of white paper and explained that I wanted them to draw a picture of what they did that day. Some of them drew pictures of themselves sledding, others drew dads snowball fighting with them and their siblings, and, of course, they drew their little snow angels. One little girl even drew the tracks she made in the snow with their feet. Cute, right?

Younger ones can explain what’s happening in their picture so an adult can write it out for them. And, of course, older ones can do the writing themselves on the back of their picture. I gave them an added incentive, and told them I would put a “special stamp” on their picture if they worked really hard! And, that was just what they needed. They did a great job. Now I have pages for our new class book. I am applauding!!

Homeschooling families can do this as well, perhaps with siblings or within co-ops. When I homeschooled my only son, we made books in a binder so we could keep a record of all of his writing. “Mama” added some fun pages too, just to role model and keep it entertaining for him.

I have also used photographs of spring trees and flowers to encourage children to write books. Last year, I had third graders thinking about the early signs of spring and what flowers bloom. We learned about the flowering trees and those gorgeous first flowers. I had encouraged them to write non-fiction books, as they learned about pear trees, redbud trees, daffodils, forsythias, snapdragons, and violas. They learned a lot of new vocabulary and how to write about factual information, and how to make it interesting for readers.

With children so into electronic screens these days, encouraging them to read and write has become my passion. Maybe this is true because I struggled in school, and I believe it is important to encourage this generation of students to become thinkers and excellent communicators.

Click here for more information on Barb’s Author Visits and Book Making classes

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