Every so often teachers have to remind their students that they have great things to write about. I found that after any long break, it was time to break out the Writers’ Notebook and brainstorm possible writing ideas.
After reading, Nothing Ever Happens at the South Pole, discuss with students how the penguin felt nothing was worth writing about in his life. However, if he had just slowed down and thought about each event, he would have found that there was so much to write!
In your notebook, you can model for the students what it would look like to chronicle “A Day In your Life.” Write only the events that happened. After you model this, allow the students time to write “A Day in their Life”.
After students have at least begun to write their events, model for them how to focus in on a moment. Focus on the senses. Was there a certain smell? Did you hear any noises or music or did someone say something specific? Did you see something you could describe? Did you taste something? Was there something unique to the touch? Help students explode the moment.
In my model, my first event is waking up late. I’ll explain to the students as I write around the moment, that my alarm didn’t go off. I woke up startled for no reason at all, my house was completely silent. Then I felt my face get warm and my body get jittery as I realized how late it was and that my boys might be tardy and I would be late to work! As I jumped out of bed and as my feet hit the floor, I jumped a little. The concrete was ice cold, so I pulled up on my tiptoes and walked up tall until I put on my slippers. I flew through the house getting everyone up. The worst part at this point was there was no time to cook and eat breakfast!
I would continue to model a few more, and then let students write “seed ideas” by their events. In all, this might take two days, but will leave the students with tons of ideas to write about. The best part is that the students will begin to realize what the penguin never did – that they have SO MANY events to write about!