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 her creative writing is being given a timeline that she has no control over.
To help alleviate some of the anticipated anxiety with her writing prompt exercises in class, occasionally I will call a “surprise writing prompt lesson” and ask her to brainstorm, plan, write and edit in a short period of time. In no way will she be graded on this. It is a time for her to try and 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 will dictate to her that she can make 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 then a structured lesson. For D, she liked that I had a stack of topics that she had no idea what she was going to get. For me, I was trying to recreate the same situation when presented with a topic that is unknown that is chosen for her.
I found this list of writing prompts on writingprompts.net .D picked prompt #32;
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.
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 braille on her braillenote touch.
Side note here… I LOVE THE BRAILLENOTE TOUCH!!! Other students of mine have used the Apex braillenote, but the braillenote touch by Humanware ROCKS! I will definitely be posting a lot more about the braillenote touch and all the cool stuff it can do in the future. It is such an amazing tool that I feel is very user friendly for a young braille reader.
In the first picture below, D has brailled her first sentence and in the second picture she is reading back her sentence checking if she needs to edit anything. I have flipped the 6 key entry braille keyboard up to see the display screen showing what D has written in real time. AMAZING!
When it is my turn to braille a sentence, I intentionally misbraille letters that D will have to locate when she reads back what I have written before she can write her next sentence. She locates my “intentional” mistakes, calls me out for my poor braille skills, edits the word for me, and brailles her next sentence without skipping a beat. She keeps me on my toes for sure 🙂
The time limit allowed only a for an introduction to our beach adventure, but overall a great lesson which we got to work on a ton of skills while having fun! The product of our creativity is below. I am not sure how well this can be read in a blog post, but it is a pretty great start!
This story will not live in D’s braillenote until next week when we will work on some editing skills. Instead, I asked her to email it to me as an attachment which I had just taught her how to do last week. We have been working on sending and receiving emails from family members to start since they are the most likely to reply in a timely manner to enable the skill to be worked on continuously with a purpose. Adding attachments and opening and reading them is the next skill that is on my to-list for her to master.
D opened up her Keymail menu, created a new email using her email list I had embossed for her as a quick reference, entered a subject and short message and from the context menu selected add attachment. She located her story, attached to her email she had open and before she sent it she asked if my ringer on my phone was on because she wanted to make sure she could hear my phone ping when I received her message and sent it!
Here it is! This is a screen shot from my phone. She emailed an attachment successfully, and we have a really funny story to keep working on next week 🙂 Another Wacky Wednesday in the books!