So, what third grader doesn’t get a little anxious when they hear there will be a writing prompt in class that day? I know my third grade student gets a little flustered when she starts thinking that she is being given a creative writing assignment with no control over the timeline.
To help alleviate some of the anticipated anxiety with her writing prompt exercises in class, occasionally I will present her with a “surprise writing prompt lesson” and ask her to brainstorm, plan, write and edit in a short period of time. She is not graded on this, but rather it is a time for her to try to work on all steps of the writing process in a compressed amount of time that is stress free!
Typically I have D. pick from a list of 3 or 4 topics that I dictate to her and she makes the decision of what she would like to write about. This Wednesday, I actually embossed a list I found online of “third grade writing prompts” and made it more of a game than a structured lesson. She liked that I had a stack of topics and that she had no idea what she was going to get. My goal was to recreate the same situation she experiences when presented with a topic that is unknown and chosen for her.
I found a list of writing prompts online. D. picked prompt one: “Imagine you have had to wear a huge, furry coat all day in the baking hot sun. Now, using all your senses, describe what it would be like to take that coat off and walk into the sea.”
Writing a Shared Story
The spin on this writing prompt was that we were going to write a shared story. D. was going to write the first sentence, I would write the second, she would write the third, and so on. She wasn’t completely sold on the “fun factor” of this activity, but she was open to trying.
Below, D. reads the prompt she chose and begins to write on her BrailleNoteTouch.
Text of Beach Story
“Holaelooyah it feels so good to take this off!!!” I have no idea why I thought wearing a coat on such a hot day was a good choice. “I feel like I could go to the north pole in a bathing suit and live!” Good thing I am so close to the ocean! I am going to do a huge cannonball into the waves! “Ooooo look at this hermet crab ow ow ow ow ow bad bad bad!” Oh brother, I was hoping for some relief in the nice cold water, but instead I got pinched by a nasty crab! “I am going underwater now.” I came up out of the water flaling my arms and screaming owowowowowowowowowow because a hermet crab diciced to lach on to my nose.