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10 Ways to Real World Writing

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source: Ron Lute

Most children hate to write. Writing assignments elicit a higher number of groans per  task than any other type of assignment (except for math, maybe).  However, there are ways around this problem.

One way to overcome this problem is to make your child’s writing assignments “real world”.  “Real world” assignments are tasks that really accomplish a purpose.  The motivation to write is built right into the purpose behind the task.

For instance, ask your child to write a pretend complaint letter and you will get nothing but complaints.  But, ask that same child to send off a real complaint letter, to a company that produced a shoddy toy, and the child will run to get paper and pen.

Here are some more real life writing activities:

1) Letters to the Editor.  Many children’s magazines have an area for their readers to write in with question, comments and opinions.  Take a look at your child’s favorite periodical to find out if they welcome submissions.

2) Letters to Friends or Relatives.  Explain to your child that writing letters is a good way for them to stay in touch with family and friends that live out of state.

3) Family Newsletter. An alternative to letter writing may be for your child (with your help) to produce a monthly or quarterly family newsletter.  Keep this strictly a writing activity, however.  Trying to combine the newsletter with lessons on word processing or graphics, will make writing a harder task than it needs to be.

4) Personal Blog or Website. Show your child some of the fabulous blogs written by children and ask him if he is interested in producing his own.  The topic doesn’t matter.  200 words written on the latest computer game is still an effective writing assignment.

5) Letters to a Pen Pal. The internet is full of penpal request lists.  Just be sure to preread everything your child receives or sends out to make sure it follows the rules of internet safety.

6) Writing for Freebies.  Kids love freebies and this is a highly motivating way to get him to write.  Freebie offers are available all over the internet.

7) Kids Websites.  Several child-oriented websites publish stories and poetry submitted by their readers. Many children get a thrill seeing their work  placed online.

8) Diary or Journal. A beautiful diary is a wonderful way to inspire your child to write.  Even if you are not allowed to read it, you can still be glad your child is getting daily writing practise.

9) Scrapbooking. Girls love to scrapbook and scrapbooking involves both art and journaling. Use art time for preparing the scrapbook page and writing time to do the journaling.

10) Get Well Cards.  Cards for Hospitalized Kids is an organization that collects and distributes get well cards to sick children. A list of do’s and dont’s is available on their website.

Bonus Way:

Write an Author. If your child has a favorite book have him write a letter to the author.  The letter can be fan mail or a question about a favorite part. How-to’s for writing authors is available online.

Read More: Language Arts or Home


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Tangible Things Class: How To See The World Differently

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This Is Not A Chairsource: Maureen Didde

I am currently participating in a free, online class called Tangible Things. It is given by Harvard University and it is about truly seeing and understanding the objects around you.

We did a exercise today that I would like to share with you. The exercise consists of stretching your mind by looking at an object in your home in as many ways as possible.

For instance, a telephone is a form of communication, but it’s also an artifact of modern design, a scientific invention, a retail commodity, a method of relaxation, etc.

To do the exercise yourself, follow these instructions:

1. Watch the video called This Is Not a Chair located on Youtube.

2. Complete the template This is not a _________; it is a __________.

3. Photograph the object, if desired.

Here is my finished exercise

This in not a plate. It is a decorative object. It was purchased for the pleasure it brings to the eye.

This is not a plate. It is a method of eating. It allows the user a simple way of enjoying food away from the immediate area of the stove.

This is not a plate. It is a part of a cooking technique. Food is placed on the plate and then heated in a microwave oven.

This is not a plate. It is small bit of American culture. Corelle became popular about 35 years ago and is still sold today.

This is not a plate. It is an example of modern science. This plate is made from Vitrelle, a substance first invented in a lab.

If you decide to do the exercise, please send me your results. I would love to read them.

Read More: Good Reads or Home

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