Last week,in my post titled Writing Should Be Fun, I posted about a writing exercise my son and I enjoy doing together as part of our homeschooling. I think I'll continue this week by posting another fun exercise or two.
First, before my son and I do our other exercises, we do a Just Write. A Just Write is simply setting the timer for a pre-determined amount of time (usually 5-10 minutes) and just writing whatever comes to mind. It's sort of a free-association type exercise to get the mind flowing and ideas on paper. A lot of writers or teachers may call this Free Writing time. For example, here's a sample page my son wrote over a year ago when we were just starting these exercises:
Alexander is the best. He has blinky tennis shoes that he doesn't like because he just doesn't like new shoes which is weird because I love new shoes. New shoes are shiny. Alexander is taking a bath. I'm drinking water and writing with Mom. What should I say? Mom got me an awesome new pen yesterday. It's supposedly the first type of pen made from recycled bottles. I like recycling. I also like my Matt Baker pen. My arm hurts because of how much writing I'm doing now. The dog can be annoying sometimes. She is licking her paws and making loud noises. My mom also got me a cool binder with awesome paper that I'm using right now. Mom writes fast.
Now you may be wondering what is the purpose of this. I'll tell you. I know it looks like a bunch of jumbled thoughts and it is. We also don't worry about capitalization or punctuation (again, as I talked in my last post Writing Should Be Fun, this is the creative aspect not the mechanics) when we do the Just Writes because the time is to just write...to put thoughts down on paper even if they are random and don't make sense together. Sometimes they are more focused on one subject, sometimes less so. But in sharing our Just Writes together and in reading over them later, it offers us some creative ideas to write about. I can look at the above paragraph and find several writing ideas:
- New Shoes
- The Sounds A Dog Makes
- Objects Made From Recycling
So, often we can use these exercises to spark ideas for other writing exercises or assignments/projects. Which reminds me... I haven't come up with an idea today for PiBoIdMo yet .... maybe I'll read a few more of our past exercises and an idea may leap off the page before me!
In addition to the sparking of ideas, it's great fun time between my son and I to exchange what we each have written. It's funny to see how often we both write about the same topics but have our own personal perspective on it or to see how we each may describe the same thing differently. This makes it a great tool to develop perception and descriptions skills too!
After I shared last week's post, a mother shared with me another exercise she does with her homeschooled children. She draws a stick figure and has them label where they have scars or have had injuries on their bodies. They use this to write stories about how they became injured. I thought this was a really cute idea! She titled this exercise the 'boo boo memoirs'! (Thanks Alesha!)
Let me know if and when you use any of these exercises and if they are helpful!
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet.