Ok, so I’ve had a string of homeschooling centered posts. It is too cold to garden, I have no money to do projects on the house and I’m in a crafting slump, so I may be getting in a bit of a rut, but this I’m really excited about and couldn’t wait to share.
From the time I was very young I’ve loved to write. For most of my childhood and teen years I wrote stories and kept a journal–so of course I ended up with three extremely writing averse children. When they were younger I let it go—I wanted them to find their writing voice in their own time and I wanted them to have ideas they wanted to express before forcing them to put pen to paper. That is all well and good in theory—but since they are nearing high school age and I’ve already used the bribery trick HERE and they are still extremely resistant to writing, I’ve been feeling pressure to find something to motivate them.
I ran across storymatic—think a more complex version of story cubes—and decided it was worth a try. Half of the box is sitational/location cards and the other half are character cards. The kids drew two of each. Then, to make it more of a game AND add some parameters, I had them each roll a couple of dice and the total of their roll equaled the number of sentences they needed to write. THEN to add even more to the “game” I made several cards with various elements of writing and made them pick three. These three elements would also need to be included in their paragraph. My element cards are really random and varied and I am sure I will continue to think of adding things. For now, some of the choices are to add: alliteration, personification, adverbs, a subordinate clause, a prepositional phrase, dialogue, or metaphor.
Alex rolled an 8 and ended up with the prompts: Video game tester, aging clown, vacation, and bad directions. After rolling and pulling my additional cards he had to include at least one prepositional phrase, an adverb and an interjection in his writing. At first he looked at me in total horror and confusion. But then, after I drew some cards and wrote a quick paragraph as a model, he ran off to his room. Five minutes later he brought his laptop to me and said he was done, but he had gone over his eight sentences. You probably don’t understand the significance of either the speed of the paragraph creation or the fact that he went over the required number of sentences but trust me, it was HUGE. Huge like designing and building the Egyptian pyramids in an evening. Even more of a surprise was his cohesive paragraph about a guy who’d injured himself in a circus accident and who had been supporting himself as a video game tester before winning the lottery and taking a vacation to Las Vegas where he promptly got lost.
Jordan was equally inpsired by her selection of: unfortunate nick name, sucker, footsteps, and escape. Within seconds she was clacking furiously away at the computer and had a coherent paragraph a few minutes later about a young boy who gets sick of his nickname of “fat face” and runs away.
The best news? They asked if they can play the game again next week.
They have a “kids” version that I probably would have opted for if I’d seen it first, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t have the option because I think they are ready for the more complex situation and character ideas and they won’t outgrow this.
This is going on my Amazon wishlist! Too cool! I love story cubes, but I also love the idea of adding some grammatical elements. I think I’ll skip the kid’s version, as well. This sounds totally doable for my 11 year old.
Heading off to Amazon to buy this!