Friday, March 1, 2013

The "Write" Kind Of A Workshop

Recently I held a children's writing workshop sponsored by the PTO of a local school, and I must admit that I'm hooked. I really think I could host this workshop repeatedly and never tire of spending time with fabulous kids who are interested in reading and writing. Although a small group, the children that attended seemed eager to listen and learn.

We covered many things such as literary terms and their meanings, we did a fun worksheet where the kids had to find all the letters I used to create a cowgirl, I did a little illustrating, and I read a story out of my book which we used to discuss the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions every author answers when writing.

About half way through the program, I handed out composition notebooks, pens, and picture prompts. The picture prompts were the six pieces of clip art to the right that I created and  printed out in worksheet form. I then asked the children to incorporate the pictures into a story of their own. Since there were students ranging from first to eighth grade, I told them not to worry about spelling, but to do the best they could in sounding out words. Each and every child used their unique imaginations and in the end there were seven wonderful stories.

I gave each child the opportunity to read their story out loud, and for those few too shy to do so, I read them instead. I was particularly impressed with the story written by a fifth grader named Taylor. She was a quiet girl but quite attentive. She told a tale of mice having a birthday party which was disturbed when an owl swooped down and flew off with the birthday mouse. The other mice gave chase and finally found the owl's home. She described the rescue mission as follows: They climbed all night. It felt like it would take forever. The huge acorn tree was so tall it touched the moon. 
The way she described the tree touching the moon gave me cause for excitement, and I had her repeat those lines for the other students. I asked them what they would have thought if she had simply said, "the tree was tall." Of course they all replied that would be very boring. This opened up the opportunity to discuss using descriptive words to give readers a mental picture of what we are writing about.

In that moment of time, I was in my element and the immense love of words instilled in me by my late father was never more evident. This was definitely the "Write" kind of a workshop for me.

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

My Illustration Attempt
Taylor and Friends Hard At Work
Getting Started On A Story


  1. I wish I could sit in on your workshops and take notes. I would like to do some in my area but haven't gotten anywhere. Since my books are Bible stories, schools resist having me make author visits. I've got to get a more generic book published to get any invites. I'm looking at Christian schools, however. There are a few in the area.

    1. Just stick with it Janice. Have you tired Christian Homeschool groups?

    2. Also, even though your book is Christian, a workshop can be geared towards writing and illustrating in general. It's a paying gig even if you don't sell books :0)

  2. I love your idea of the pictures to stimulate a writing activity. I may borrow that one day!
    I too love school visits, and I, like Janice find general schools a little more hesitant to invite me - but it can be done. We are, after all, in these instances invited to teach a love of reading and writing. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by Penny. Truth be told, the head of the PTO has tried to get me in for a school visit but those in charge seem to hesitate, so she had me do this workshop through the PTO.

  3. I love that you took the time to invest in sweet little ones. Oh how I wished a love for writing had been cultivated in me when I was much, much younger. :)