Each child writes the beginning part of a sentence on a sheet of notebook paper. This includes the subject and good adjectives. Then they fold down the top of the paper to cover what they wrote. They use two paper clips to keep this in place. Then they give their paper to another student. * The second student writes the rest of the sentence. This is an interesting verb and modifiers. Then we share the sentences. Some of them make sense, but most are silly…the students like these best, of course. I comment on good descriptive words, great use of spelling or vocabulary words, etc…
We do several of these and then I often let them have some writing time. I say “let” because they enjoy this…well, many of them did not at the beginning of the year because they feared writing, thinking they could not write. However, they have all overcome this. They WRITE!!!
During this writing time, they select ANY of the sentences that were shared. They write a short story working in the sentence. If there is time, I let them draw picture(s) to go with their stories. Then, of course, we must have time to read the stories aloud.
Sometimes, I read the stories. Then they try to guess who wrote the story. It is interesting how well they got in recognizing each others writing. Of course, there are clues. Margaret is an excellent writer and seems able to take any topic and make it a story. Her sentences will be well written and her penmanship makes them easy for me to read. Then there is Anne. Anne loves horses and will almost always work them into her stories. If it is about armies or dinosaurs it is probably Nat. …then it is Josh. As the year progressed the children tried to “fool” others by writing about something they thought would disguise their identity. One of the funniest was when Ricky (Mr. Athlete) wrote about ballet…no one guessed.
* NOTE: We keep changing the way we exchange papers so children get a different student’s words each time. In a home setting there may be fewer people to participate, but even just exchanging pages between Mom or Dad and one student can work well. If there is only one student he can even do this as a solitary project. Have him write five or more sentence beginnings each day for a week. The second week take five of the folded papers each day and write sentence endings. When all have been completed, the fun begins. Each day select a few of the completed sentences to read and choose one to write on.