Friday, January 23, 2015

Musical Writing

I was so excited when I found this idea. Because I teach in a multi-grade classroom, I am always looking for ideas that work great in a regular classroom, but are easily adaptable to a multi-grade classroom. Musical Writing is the musical chairs of stories. It was almost too easy.

First, I have to tell you my students' reaction to the activity and then, I'll tell you how it is done. When I told them what we were going to do, they became excited. They said things like, "This is a great idea, Mrs. Collins."  I also heard, "I like this!" and finally, "Can we do this every Friday?"

I know you can't wait to try it, so, here's how you can get your kids excited about writing:

First, push the desks into the center of the room. Have every student put his or her own chair near the desks facing out. They need to have a pencil or pen in their hand.

Then, place a piece of paper with a story-starter upside down on each chair. Have each child face to the right and start the music.

When the music stops, they go to the closest chair, turn the paper over and, after reading the story-starter, they begin writing.

Once the music starts again, they stop (even mid-word), turn in the same direction (to the right) and start moving until the music stops again. Now they read what has been written by the last writer and add to the story.

Continue doing this several times. Finally, say, "You will finish the next story you come to." Play the music. When it stops, they read what was written by the previous students and finish the story.

Share the stories with the class.

My kids loved it and can't wait to do it again!

Here are some things you may want to cover:

1) Use clip boards for the story to help keep the writing smooth.

2) Emphasize good penmanship.

3) Be ready to rotate and help those who are stuck for an idea or can't read what was written-especially in a multi-grade classroom.

4) Set guidelines on what is allowed before they begin. For example, if you want it to be realistic, if you want them to be science fiction, whatever you want, make sure they understand.

5) Decide if you want them to add their name beside what they write.