Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Important Book - a great writing activity

Here is one of my favorite lessons.

I do it every year.  

I do it several times a year.

And you should too. :)

Are you familiar with The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown?  

Love it!

It’s basically a book that details simple objects.  There is a pattern to her writing.  It is such a wonderful example of “organization” if you teach Six Traits.  You can peak at the inside of the book here.

I think the best thing about this lesson is that it can be used with any subject area and at every grade level. For the younger learners simply make a template for them.  For the even younger learners let them dictate it to you.  Older learners can write it on their own.

I read the book.  I discuss the pattern and organization to her writing.  We chat about how she finds the details in simple objects.

I reread the book.  During the second reading we discuss each page.  We talk about how she intertwines the writing with the illustrations.  

I model an example of how they need to write it.  I even work in one of my sad little drawings.

I am creative. I am not artistic.  I firmly believe they are two very different characteristics.

I then give them a topic and they each select something to write about.

I start the year with them writing about themselves.

Example: The important thing about Jane is that she is a great friend.  She is funny, she walks her dog every day and she cries when she gets hit with a ball in gym.  She is ticklish, she loves to eat oatmeal and she is saving money to buy a new American Girl Doll.  But, the important thing about Jane is that she is a good friend.

I have them write about a content area:

The important thing about magnets...

The important thing about Pilgrims...

I have them write about math:

The important thing about a (insert the name of a geometric solid)

The important thing about multiplication is...

It’s a really good way to assess what they know.  The final products make beautiful displays.  They also make fabulous class book.


Sunny said...

I love this book too. It's one of my very favorites.

Agenzie hostess firenze said...

It was a good read and very useful.

John Deere Mom said...

I do this every year of my favorites!

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous lesson idea - and this looks like a great book. Will rush off to A. and seek it out after this! Am now pondering over how I could incorporate these ideas into EFL with my teenies ... hmmm ...
Thanks for sharing!