I have always loved to write. As a little girl, I wanted to grow up and be a writer just like my grandfather who was a writer for the local newspaper in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I enjoyed writing assignments in school and even at home in my spare time I wrote poems and stories. My grandfather and parents encouraged me to write and my grandfather even occasionally published a piece I would write for school in his weekly newspaper column. In an effort to provide some of the same encouragement to students at my school who enjoy writing, I have partnered with another teacher to sponsor the Writing Club at Sixes Elementary. We were inspired to start it last year. It was such a hit that we've again offered it to students in fourth grade this year.
Each time we meet we practice writing through various writing prompts and activities. At our first meeting we all created personalized journals to write in by pasting magazine pictures on composition journals. On the inside cover we attached a manila envelope to store treasures in. The resulting product was a work of art in itself.
For one of our first assignments, we did a Walkabout. Since it was a lovely fall day we ventured outside to a wooded area near the school parking lot. Students sat quietly and took in the environment, using all their senses. They walked about and picked up leaves and berries to save and write about. After about thirty minutes we returned to the classroom and wrote about our experiences. What a variety of sights, smells and sounds were recorded and shared with each other!
Each week we meet and create a new writing experience. The week of Halloween, we all wrote about a time we were scared. We've created found poetry from magazines and put together candy bogs with inspiring words for friends. We write poems about our names and use illustrations to inspire imaginative stories. At the end of the year we will have an author's party for family and friends so that the students can share their creative work with others. Together we challenge each other to be better writers and to use our gifts to inspire others.
Have you ever been a part of a writing club? What activities have you used to encourage young writers?