Entries from June 2012 ↓

July 4th writing prompts

4th of July Parade Paris Texas 2011

IT’S SUMMER. Your kids would rather ride bikes, toss a baseball, and run through the sprinklers than sit indoors “doing school.” Make writing time fun by taking clipboards, pencils, and papers outdoors, and inspire your kids with writing prompts that center on Independence Day.

  1. Copy, paste, and print out (or handwrite) these prompts on red, white, and blue paper strips. Place them in a jar.
  2. Have each child draw two slips of paper from the jar.
  3. Ask them to choose their favorite of the two. If you have a reluctant child, set the timer for 15 minutes.

Voila! A patriotic, short-and-sweet summer writing activity!

July 4th Writing Prompts

What does freedom mean to you? List five ways you can exercise your freedom.

Write a story using words from this Independence Day word bank.

Imagine watching a fireworks show with your family. In a burst of red, white, and blue, an urgent message suddenly appears in the night sky. What does it say? What will you do?

Write a story using these words: watermelon, fireworks, parade, thunderstorm, splash, race, disappeared, cousins, bicycle, dog. (Let younger children choose just 3-5 of these words for their story.)

Plan the perfect 4th of July barbecue or picnic. Make a list of foods you would serve. Then, choose one or two and describe them in detail to make them sound as tempting and mouth-watering as possible.

Imagine a 4th of July celebration that is filled with mishaps. Write a story that tells about three things that go wrong.

Write a letter to an imaginary friend who lives in another country. Explain why we celebrate Independence Day, and describe five things you like about living in America.

Write about your family’s 4th of July traditions. Where do you go? What activities do you do? What foods do you enjoy?

Create an acrostic:

  • Vertically on your paper, write either “INDEPENDENCE DAY” or “FOURTH OF JULY.”
  • Next to each letter, write a word, phrase, or sentence related to the holiday’s history or your family traditions. (For example, “J” could be Jefferson, Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, or Juicy watermelon.)

If you could celebrate Independence Day anywhere in the country, which of these would you choose? What kinds of activities would you do?

  • Independence Hall, Philadelphia
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Baseball stadium with fireworks show
  • Small Midwestern town
  • On a yacht
  • Family reunion at the beach
  • Barbecue and swimming in your own back yard

Bonus!

Visit BusyTeacher.org for a collection of Independence Day printables and worksheets including 4th of July finger puppets, Old Glory worksheet, and a color-and-cut 4th of July visor!

Photo: Amy Claxton, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Summer fun: Online grammar and word games!

AS THE WEATHER warms up, sometimes you just have to keep everyone inside to stay cool. While babies are napping, why not let older children play a few online games to stretch their vocabulary, practice alphabet and grammar skills, or improve their typing speed?

Check out these three websites to find a wide variety of games to productively occupy your kids.

Sheppard Software Online Games

Sheppard Software features several free educational grammar games to play online.

Kids play the Grammar Tutorial before they snatch worms with Noun Explorer, whack robots with Verbs in Space, and zap flies in the Adjective Adventure game. Crisp graphics and just a bit of challenge make it fun to practice parts of speech!

SchooltimeGames.com

I discovered several amusing language arts games over at SchooltimeGames.com.

I confess that I enjoyed Fowl Words way too much! More than a language arts exercise, it’s actually a game that gives practice with typing speed as you race to spell words before the eggs crack.

The Boggle-like 3D Word Cube kept me occupied trying to get bonus points for using more than one side to form words. Must Pop Words was another entertaining word-building game that gave bonuses for starting a word with “Y” or making a 6-letter word.

I haven’t tried all the games, but I’m sure a kid can have fun poking around! (Heads up: Some of the games play a brief 10-second commercial before the game activates.)

ABCya.com

You won’t need to brave any commercials at ABCya.com. Instead, you’ll find an assortment of colorful games arranged by grade level from K-5.

Younger children can practice with alphabet and word games such as ABC Order and Sight Word Bingo (a favorite of my granddaughters).

Older elementary kids will have fun with Alpha Munchies (a typing game) and  Ice Cream Talk, which requires them to identify nouns or verbs in a sentence before playing a bonus round to collect scoops of ice cream.

I’m sure your children will find a game or two to suit their interests. (That is, as long as you can tear yourself away from your own favorites long enough to give them a turn!)

. . . . . 

Your Turn!

Have you found some online language arts games you especially like? What are your favorites?

Photo Credit: Amy Fleeker. Used by permission.

WriteShop Summer Special

SUMMERS TEND to be full of popsicles, play dates, and for a lot of moms, planning.

From now until August 15, WriteShop is offering a Summer Convention Special just for you!

Book D Bundle with FREE Time-Saver Pack!

Just $79.90 ($93.85 value) ::: Offer ends August 15, 2012

Visit WriteShop at the Virtual Homeschool Convention to take advantage of this great deal! In our booth you can also browse our other products, download samples, and chat with us regarding any questions you may have. The convention is open 24/7; if we have stepped away from our booth, shoot us an email.

Get familiar with WriteShop and learn what our writing curriculum has to offer your homeschool.

This Special Book D Bundle includes:

  • Book D Teacher’s Guide, spiral bound view details
  • Activity Pack (2-part pack includes both Student Worksheets AND Level 1 Fold-N-Go Grammar Pack) view details
  • Time-Saver Pack view details

Recommended Grade Levels and Placement Help

  • Ideal for students in 3rd and 4th grade.
  • May also be used with reluctant 5th graders (and even some 6th graders).
  • Parents also appreciate being able to use the program with struggling learners.
  • Start with Book D if your child has not learned punctuation or grammar skills and still needs help planning, organizing, and adding details to a story.
  • More reluctant 3rd graders should start with WriteShop Primary Book C.

 

For additional information, see:
More about WriteShop Junior
Book D sample lesson: Sample pages from the Teacher’s Guide and the Activity Pack.

Prefer a digital version? Purchase this Summer Special as a PDF download and save an additional $15!

5 summer writing activities from Pinterest

LOOKING FOR ways to keep your children {productively} occupied this summer without actually assigning schoolwork? Look no further! You can find tons of great summer writing activities from Pinterest.

Here are five fun Pinterest projects you can suggest to help stave off boredom.

1. Make Your Own Comic Book

Got boys? They’ll love these 10 tips for making their own comic books!

writing activities from pinterest, make comic book

2. Create Your Own Word Art

Using Microsoft Word, your kids can create word art in the shape of their choice. Encourage them to choose words that fit a theme, such as jungle words, summer words, or family words.

For added writing fun, invite them instead to use the text of a poem or short story they’ve written, highlighting key words in bright colors and interesting fonts.

writing activities from pinterest, word art

3. Write Eraser Stories

Collectible Japanese erasers come in loads of fun shapes, but you can also find budget-friendly $1 packs of cute mini erasers at places like Michael’s. Pick up an assortment and set your kids to writing eraser stories!

This engaging activity helps your child choose characters and situations as story starters so they can create a simple yet fun story. If you have a pre-writer (or a reluctant one!), make this an oral activity in which you write the story as your child spins his yarn.

eraser stories, summer writing activities, pinterest

4. Make an Inchie Book

Who doesn’t love miniature things? Combine arts and crafts with writing and encourge your kids to turn their tiny stories into tiny books!

writing activities from pinterest, make inchie book, tiny books, make a book

5. Make a Step Book

Step books are especially fun for younger children, as they lend themselves beautifully to counting books. Work together with a preschooler to create a step book just for him. Even better, suggest that your older kids make a step book for a younger sibling!

pinterest, writing activities from pinterest, step books, summer writing fun, summer writing activities, making books

Follow my Pinterest boards and explore my blog for even more writing ideas!

Your Turn!

What are some of your favorite Pinterest writing activities for kids? Feel free to share links in the comments!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

2012 Washington Homeschool Convention – Puyallup

This coming weekend (June 15-16) finds Debbie and me in the beautiful state of Washington, where WriteShop once again will be exhibiting at the annual WHO Convention at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center.

If you live in northwestern Washington, I hope you’ll join us! This is a great opportunity to get refreshed and recharged, explore the curriculum hall, and hang out with like-minded friends.

And as you begin looking toward the next school year, it’s also the perfect time to stop by our booth to ask questions, see what’s new, or browse through WriteShop books in person.

At the convention you can:

Visit the WHO Convention site for workshop schedule, exhibit hall hours, and directions to the conventions. See you there!

 

Overcoming the {writing} procrastinator within

Daniella Dautrich returns as a guest blogger today. I always enjoy sharing with you her thoughts and experiences with writing!

. . . . .

pleasantly adriftLET’S FACE it: when it comes to writing, most of us, at one time or another, have procrastinated. Blog posts, reference letters, business reports, and articles find themselves sitting on the back burners of our lives.

Nothing speaks louder than “example” when encouraging children, especially older students, in their writing pursuits. This means that we need to take time to develop good attitudes and habits toward writing.

Bad Motivators

As a chronic procrastinator, I can attest to the failure of two false motivators:

Guilt

Self-deprecating thoughts such as “They’ve probably lost all respect for me by now” or “I’m always letting people down” are counterproductive.

Rather than truly change your procrastinating habits, they prompt you to take on the character of a grump. Now you’re upset with yourself—and more than likely affecting the mood of everyone around you, children included.

Remember, we want to be fully alive as writers, not crouching in self-made corners of guilt and shame.

Bribes

For true-blue procrastinators, the promise of rewards and treats at the end of a project simply won’t work. We may admire other people who are wired to work first and play later, to eat vegetables first and dessert later.

If you’re not wired that way, be honest with yourself. Until lightning strikes and your personality is permanently altered, you’ll eat the cookie before the project is done, every time.

Don’t make the chocolate chips (or molasses or peanut butter) your writing motivation in the first place.

Positively Proactive

That said, there’s still good news. At least three strategies have worked for me, and they can transform your inner world of writing as well!

1. Develop a sense of curiosity

Always be aware of the general topic for your next writing project. Think of questions, as well as questions your readers might ask, when you’re out driving and shopping, and when you’re busy at home with chores and yard work.

Keep a mental list, or carry a small pad to jot down notes throughout the day. When you have ideas to play with instead of a blank slate, the keyboard and computer screen lose much of their terror. (Remember, yesterday’s questions are today’s paragraph topics!)

Follow this strategy to keep your mind active, and you’ll hardly be able to keep yourself from sitting down and writing.

2. Develop a routine

Set a certain time of day to write, and ask your family to keep you accountable.

If you have an inconsistent schedule (bedtimes and waking up and mealtimes in a daily state of flux), that’s okay. Even a simple routine, such as reviewing your writing topic each morning and choosing the next day’s project before falling asleep at night, can be a powerful tool.

3. Keep a “success” list in a prominent place

This is not your to-do list! Only keep track of writing projects you’ve actually finished. Don’t forget to include several ostentatious checkmarks, stickers, or smiley faces.

Constantly refer back, remembering all you’ve accomplished. You might have heard that completing tasks can trigger endorphin release in your brain; whether or not that’s true, the knowledge of success is a delicious feeling.

Every project you finish will motivate you to move forward and complete more tasks. Let the race begin!

Samuel Johnson said: “A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it.” We can all use more discipline in our lives, but I believe that curiosity and wonder, time for planning and pondering, and celebration of our achievements are all valuable habits in their own right.

Your Turn!

What do you think? How you overcome procrastination? Share your favorite tips below!

Thanks to Daniella Dautrich for joining us as a guest blogger. Daniella is a homeschool graduate and WriteShop alumna. A happily married writer and homemaker, she blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.

 Photos: Jimi Glide and Karen Lee, courtesy of Creative Commons

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

 

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