Building community …. and writing skills!

By Heidi Blokland

There are a lot of things to work on when teaching students to write …

  • sentence structure
  • proper punctuation
  • organization
  • word choice
  • adding juicy details

Is there a way to work on all that and build community?

Well, the students in Grade 1-2 recently met with their buddies in Grade 3-4 to do a collaborative writing assignment. It was a chance for everyone to work on building their writing skills and build community.

The students were given a story starter and asked to use their imagination to finish the story.

There was a creative buzz in the room as the students excited shared their ideas and started writing.

Take a moment to read some of their amazing stories:

  • *Every time the dog, barked something unusual happened. First when the dog barked a horse popped out in the middle of nowhere and flew away. Second, when the dog barked there was a pig that grew and grew and grew until it was 100 times bigger. Third, when the dog barked it disappeared and everything went normal again. The end.*

  • *One day I woke up and looked out the window. To my surprise I saw that the house was floating high up in the clouds! I quickly ran to the door and …. looked out. The houses looked so small. The people looked like dolls. I ran up the stairs to the attic to find my sky diving gear. I LOOKED everywhere but I could not find it. I opened a box labeled stinky socks and found it. I made sure that it was all there. I put it on and ran down the stairs. I opened the door and jumped out – cowabunga!!!!! I landed on the comfiest bed ever and fell asleep. The end.*

The students loved having a chance to read their amazing stories to the class and the rest of the students enjoyed hearing the creative ideas of others.

Many skills were built during this activity

  • story organization – they wrote a story with a beginning, middle and an end.
  • creativity – they used their imaginations to come up with original ideas
  • collaboration – they worked together and come up with an idea they both liked
  • word choice – they come up with unique and interesting words
  • spelling – they sounded out new words, helping each other to spell accurately
  • focus – they worked diligently until their story was finished

Together they were building knowledge and community!

As Helen Keller once said: “Alone, we can do so little. Together, we can do so much.”