Activities for the Week of Sep 29

autumnowls_lThe fall is definitely here in the DC Metro area–or at least as close as we get. How about all of you? This week lets have our young writers work on descriptions about what’s going on outside. We’ll be going for details again while trying to get across the idea that the details are meaningful pieces of information that help us identify a particular person, place, mood, thing …

Pre-K Crowd: With this group, the best way to work on things is by making it a fun game. Your young child is going to enjoy being with you and will be eager to do whatever it is you’re doing. If you’re reading a book, that’s great. But how about taking that same picture book and playing a game where you say, “Where’s the bear with the red shirt?” and then finding that bear with your child? You can do that will lots of things and it doesn’t have to turn into a lesson. Just have it be fun. If your child is old enough, you can make a scavenger hunt. Use shapes for the clues they have to match and make a rebus–a little story or sentence with pictures–to show what he/she is trying to spot when they match the shape. If you’re making dinner, have your child find the pot and spoon you need. If it’s the weekend, maybe your child can help water the plants. In general, the more you view this as fun, the more low key and truly fun it will be for both of you.

Grades K-1: For these kids, ask some questions about what they noticed on the walk home, or the drive home, or when they look out the front door. Are the leaves changing colors? Have any of them dropped? Are any of the leaves particularly vivid. If they were to describe one tree out of all the trees so that someone else could find that tree, how would they tell that person about the tree? Is it the tallest? The farthest away? The skinniest? The one with the mottled bark? What makes that tree, that tree. We do this all the time in KidWrite and I can tell you right now that there are always some kids for whom a tree is a tree is a tree. They just don’t see a difference. There’s no point in turning a child into a tree-hater. Just switch it up a bit instead. For instance, have your child draw a few trees and tell him/her to make them different. If they still don’t quite get what you’re asking for, suggest one tree is an apple tree and another has purple birds sitting in it. You can also ask if there is something that stands out when he/she looks outside. None of this is working? Take a break and go back to “You’ll know Bob when you see him,” for a bit. For some reason, describing people is easier than describing trees!

Grade 2: Ask your second grader to describe the very best club house or tree house or place to hang out that he/she can imagine. Ask what it’s like outside, what it’s like inside. Are there chairs, cushions, window seats? Are there curtains, blinds, shutters? Is there heat in the winter? A breeze in the summer? A table? Any food? THEN ask your child to describe what it would be like there in the fall. Would there be leaves turning colors or falling? Would it be chilly? Would he/she need a sweatshirt or jacket? Then ask your child to imagine the place is outside and point to a place it might be in your yard or on your balcony or in your building. Keep going for description and try to bring the change in weather into it, too.

Grades 3-5: These big kids should be able to tell you about the change in the seasons. They will most likely be able to differentiate between types of tress (evergreen vs deciduous) even if they don’t know those terms. If you live were there are squirrels, they will be able to tell you that they are busy storing food for the winter. They can tell you about changing colors, falling leaves, and what they can expect in a few weeks. If you live in a city, have your child tell you about the local park. No park? Have your child tell you about the weather–the temperatures in the morning and then again at dinner time. Have he/she keep track for a few days. Then have your child write a short story about a character from last week. Have the character be outside waiting for a sibling or friend to arrive. Have your child describe what the character sees and feels as that character waits. When your child shares the story with you, comment on the fall details he/she has included. No fall details? Ask a few questions about the temperature, the trees, flowers, animals, etc. that were around the character as it waited. Ask where those details would fit in the story. IF your child is into it, take it further and take turns adding weather details so that the character is faced with a blizzard, a downpour, a hurricane …

Just remember to have fun 🙂

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