good finds / HOMESCHOOLING

simple schooling : part 2

{Hello friends. Still here. Still huge. Still waddling. And very ready.}

But in the meantime, more school talk….

girl with chicken

It has been on my mind lately to do a little more writing with the girls. We keep a daily gratitude journal, which has become an invaluable part of our day, I dare-say even a habit for the girls. Emma writes in hers almost daily, even without my prompting. And Mary's is an inventive speller's work of art. I cherish both journals. 

But I also wanted to do a little more storytelling and creative writing with the girls. Their imaginations are so rich at this age and I wanted to tap into that creativity during our school day. 

"Elise on tractor"

When I was a classroom teacher I used to constantly scan through old issues of magazines and newspapers clipping out interesting or odd pictures and filing them away in a folder. I used them as writing "prompts" for my students. 

And I remembered this little activity a few weeks ago and decided it was high time that I got the girls doing this too. 

woman picking huckleberries

So with the help of the internet, some old National Geographic magazines and newspapers, I've started collecting images for them as well. 

I give them each a copy of the picture that will be the "starter" for their story. For Emma, I simply send her off to a quiet place to write, without any distraction or any "guidance" from me. With Mary, I ask her a few questions about what she sees in the picture, helping her notice details that might help her story get started or might spark an idea. But it doesn't take much. The child needs very little help from me! Within seconds, the story starts to emerge, and as she dictates, I write it all down. 

I started out doing this once a week, but I'm finding that they are asking for it more often. And it doesn't take long. I don't make them do much more than a first draft, although I do make Emma go back and fix simple things like capitals and punctuation, when she forgets. And the stories and the pictures get tucked away in a folder to be revisited, shared and read over and over. 

I asked the girls if I could share one of their stories. Emma was too shy, but Mary said, "Sure!" The picture she based this story on is below. I found it on this site, which has some great "story starters". Her story cracks me up–the drama, the tragedy, the misunderstanding, the humor…

 Writing prompt 1
 

From Mary:

Once upon a time there was a cat who got inside. The person didn't know that the cat got inside and the fish tank was open. The cat got up on the fish tank. He jumped into the tank! Uh-oh! He didn't know how to swim! So the fish rescued him and the cat ate the fish not knowing that the fish was being nice. 

There was one last brave fish. He said, "Oh ca-at! There's cat food out for you!" So the cat jumped out. The food made him sick. And the cat died. "Oh, poor cat!" said the fish. And he cut open the cat and saved all the other fish from dying, and put them back in the tank. And they all lived happily ever after, well, except for the cat. 

The end.

Other great resources are the obvious magazines and newspapers, but I also find flipping through tumblr, or the creative commons on flickr or google images are also really good. I stumbled upon this Oregon State digital collection which has some really beautiful and interesting photos. The black and whites in this post are pulled from their archives. 

Happy Writing! 

Up next, my new favorite math game…

{Hello friends. Still here. Still huge. Still waddling. And very ready.}

But in the meantime, more school talk….

girl with chicken

It has been on my mind lately to do a little more writing with the girls. We keep a daily gratitude journal, which has become an invaluable part of our day, I dare-say even a habit for the girls. Emma writes in hers almost daily, even without my prompting. And Mary's is an inventive speller's work of art. I cherish both journals. 

But I also wanted to do a little more storytelling and creative writing with the girls. Their imaginations are so rich at this age and I wanted to tap into that creativity during our school day. 

"Elise on tractor"

When I was a classroom teacher I used to constantly scan through old issues of magazines and newspapers clipping out interesting or odd pictures and filing them away in a folder. I used them as writing "prompts" for my students. 

And I remembered this little activity a few weeks ago and decided it was high time that I got the girls doing this too. 

woman picking huckleberries

So with the help of the internet, some old National Geographic magazines and newspapers, I've started collecting images for them as well. 

I give them each a copy of the picture that will be the "starter" for their story. For Emma, I simply send her off to a quiet place to write, without any distraction or any "guidance" from me. With Mary, I ask her a few questions about what she sees in the picture, helping her notice details that might help her story get started or might spark an idea. But it doesn't take much. The child needs very little help from me! Within seconds, the story starts to emerge, and as she dictates, I write it all down. 

I started out doing this once a week, but I'm finding that they are asking for it more often. And it doesn't take long. I don't make them do much more than a first draft, although I do make Emma go back and fix simple things like capitals and punctuation, when she forgets. And the stories and the pictures get tucked away in a folder to be revisited, shared and read over and over. 

I asked the girls if I could share one of their stories. Emma was too shy, but Mary said, "Sure!" The picture she based this story on is below. I found it on this site, which has some great "story starters". Her story cracks me up–the drama, the tragedy, the misunderstanding, the humor…

 Writing prompt 1
 

From Mary:

Once upon a time there was a cat who got inside. The person didn't know that the cat got inside and the fish tank was open. The cat got up on the fish tank. He jumped into the tank! Uh-oh! He didn't know how to swim! So the fish rescued him and the cat ate the fish not knowing that the fish was being nice. 

There was one last brave fish. He said, "Oh ca-at! There's cat food out for you!" So the cat jumped out. The food made him sick. And the cat died. "Oh, poor cat!" said the fish. And he cut open the cat and saved all the other fish from dying, and put them back in the tank. And they all lived happily ever after, well, except for the cat. 

The end.

Other great resources are the obvious magazines and newspapers, but I also find flipping through tumblr, or the creative commons on flickr or google images are also really good. I stumbled upon this Oregon State digital collection which has some really beautiful and interesting photos. The black and whites in this post are pulled from their archives. 

Happy Writing! 

Up next, my new favorite math game…

21 comments on “simple schooling : part 2”

  1. Great story Mary!! Love the idea – I too clipped magazine pictures for my students when I taught reading and writing. Great links too – thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh my gosh, this story made my day! I HOWLED with laughter. “And they all lived happily ever after, well, except for the cat.” That is absolutely PRICELESS. Congratulations, momma. You have two brilliant, creative little proteges on your hands 🙂

  3. such a wonderful idea! i’m definitely going to give this a try, and i can’t wait to follow that link to more pictures. i especially love that first photograph.

  4. this is so very cool!! I can’t wait to try this with my girls–thank you for the great link (although I couldn’t get to it, the oregon digital collection, from this post?)

    and thinking of you–hang in there! so exciting!!

  5. Isn’t the OSU digital collection awesome? There is a Crater Lake digital collection as well that is quite good.

    I LOVE the story-starter idea…filing this one away! xox

  6. oh my goodness–mary’s story is so darn cute!! And you are such a wonderful mother & teacher–love the little insights into your teachings! 🙂

  7. Great idea! I will do this next year, we are still working on our writing skills, so next school year will be great. Thanks!Kelly Kk-tribe.blogspot.com

  8. I have a file of these too, I cut up a bunch of old NG’s and laminated them on cardstock. great journal prompts.

    love that story — graphic and great!

  9. Can I tell you how much I love this? The photos (oh, that girl, that chicken! That woman picking berries, one by solitary one.) Your daughter’s story. Your inventiveness in a trying time? I can’t wait for the math, though I do hope your own family’s math changes for the better, before I get to see plain old schoolwork. Cheers, Molly

  10. I simply adore this idea! Our homeschooling is just beginning, my oldest is officially starting kindergarten on Tuesday! We just started a web-site and I hope you don’t mind but I put a link to your why we homeschool post. Love your blog and I’ll be sure to visit it regularly!

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