I have here before me a squarish red book titled, Games for Writing by Peggy Kaye. I’m so excited about the games in this book that I just had to plug it.
Here’s a novel idea. Writing is about writing, not spelling. (I’ll admit, I blinked when I read that.)
You all know by now my mantra: Learning needs to be fun whenever possible! Handwriting for the K-3rd graders isn’t exactly a love affair. Why else would there be options out there such as Handwriting Without Tears?
This book is full of fun/easy ways to make the hesitant bold, to fan the flame of imagination gone shy, to reinstate the FUN of wribbling. (Read the book to find out what wribbling is, or use your imagination)
The book is divided into five parts. Below I’ll share one idea from each part to whet your curiosity. Keep in mind that some of her game ideas sound even better than the ones I’m sharing…they’d just take too much explanation on my part! The writing games are all aimed at grades K-3:
Part one is titled: Just For Starters:
- Make alphabet letters out of pretzel dough (we’ve actually done this and it’s a blast!)
- Play obstacle course: Take a blank piece of typing paper and at the top write HOME. At the bottom write ZOO. In between the two fill the paper with short 1.5 inch lines slanted every which way. Your beginning writer gets to practice controlling their pencil as they weave in between lines to get from home to zoo. (Easiest of all home drawn mazes!)
Part two is called: Stress Busters:
- 15 minutes of silent written conversation. Teacher and child may not talk, but instead write questions and answers back and forth. If anyone talks during the 15 minutes, they get points against them for each spoken word. Words do not need to be neat or spelled correctly. (We’re trying to instill a love of creative writing here, no corrections!)
- Monster Cafe–Boys will love filling in a menu that you’ve labeled “appetizer”, “main dish”, “dessert” and “beverage”. Remember, spelling isn’t important. The boy she worked with in the book used “Slime guts with cklt cockroaches” (cklt=chocolate). Don’t forget to have the child put a price by the item! And if they ask for help spelling, help them. We’re taking the pain out of handwriting.
Part three in the book deals with Spelling, Handwriting and Grammar:
- Speed contest–give them a page with a challenging spelling word written at the top. Have them study it a couple minutes, then write it as many times as they can in 45 seconds. If they are able to write it (correctly and legibly) enough times, they’ve won the contest.
Part four–Writing With Style:
- “She is so silly”…have your child write a story about the silliest woman on earth…three or four sentences. She is so silly she wears slippers for mittens. Or “He is so hungry” etc.
- Have your child dream up a main character. Give them a fact sheet to fill in–name, favorite color, fave food, favorite activity on a Saturday, what they really love and really dislike…
Part five ends the book–Made With Pride:
- the author gives templates to make a cat shaped book. If your child loves to draw tractors or horses, they could make a shape book out of these shapes and put a three word caption under each page’s picture
- Make your own board game. Disclaimer: the author makes a game board based on witchcraft (I know…) my girls and I made a board game based on the Spanish facts we were learning last year. We had as much fun making it as we had playing it.
- Make their own alphabet book…a page for each letter, a word(s) for each letter…they could illustrate it themselves or find a magazine picture to paste on the page.
As you can see, this book is 225 pages chock full of ideas. I got it last week at the library, and will probably end up buying my own copy!