Thursday, August 30, 2012

Writing can be fun?

Not really meaning to, we ended up doing quite a bit of a writing today.  The boys each received a letter from my mom and wanted to write back to her.  My boys typically hate writing and we have been trying all sorts of activities to help them look at writing as fun.



I thought today would be a good day to practice our writing.  Evan, once again dictated his letter to me to write for him.  I did make him write a few of the words in the letter though ("I love you"-- just some very small words to start) while the older two boys wrote their own.

Once again this was a struggle for Alec but Ian wrote quite a bit sitting in his room at his own desk.  We did have to edit for punctuation and missing words but all in all it wasn't horrible when I took into account the fact that he wrote it totally on his own in the same amount of time it took me to help Evan write his.

Before writing I asked them if they remembered the right way to set up the letter and we talked about the format of a letter, and Ian definitely did.  I figure by writing letters once a month or so they should have this format down pat in no time.
       
Our math lesson also ended up including quite a bit of writing too. 

It was another lesson pulled from my cereal math packet, but instead of estimating or counting, today they had to create.  They decided on the ingredients for their very own cereal and wrote a recipe using fractions and measurements!  

I could not believe how much fun my boys had with this writing assignment!

We pulled out my cookbook and looked at recipes.

I showed them that they have to list all ingredients and then write the instructions.

On the front of the sheet there were lists of ingredients, shapes, colors, textures, etc. to choose from in making the cereal.  They also had to describe how the cereal would taste and name it too.  Of course the descriptions they came up with orally were much more descriptive than the ones they wrote down but that's pretty much how elementary aged writing goes.

I got them excited about writing by telling them that if they got me excited about their cereal and, if they used ingredients we could find at the grocery store, I'd allow them to create it "for real" one day next week along with designing their own cereal box.

Alec started the project and told me it was the best ever!

They loved writing up the recipe and I did have a few mini lessons about how 2 1/2 cups and 2- 1/2 cup measures are not the same thing.  We were basically talking about adding fractions without them realizing it.

Look at that grin he has on his face while writing-- priceless!
I probably should have waited until they told me what kinds of cereal they'd like to make before offering to let them eat it.  I think some of the combinations will not only make my stomach hurt but my teeth too!

Let me share them with you:

Evan's recipe calls for 1/3 cup apple jacks cereal, 1/4 cup crushed potato chips, 1/4 cup whole Oreo sandwich cookies with 1 Tbsp. milk.

Ian's cereal ended up becoming a milk shake since he used 6 cups coffee ice cream, 1 cup milk, 5 cups whipped cream, two cherries, 1/4 cup crushed potato chips and 1/4 cup choc. chip cookies and instructed his audience to blend the milk, ice cream, chips and cookies together in the blender.

Alec's cereal: Marshmallow Toast Crunch used 8 cups of milk, 4 cups of cinnamon toast crunch, 1 cup of rainbow colored diamonds (that don't even exist so he told me we could make them), 1 cup marshmallows, 4 Oreo cookies and 3 chocolate chip cookies.

But true to my word we'll take a day (or three if they want to try each other's and get to [have to?] eat them).

I think I'll definitely try another math/ writing activity like this again.   I bet we'd learn a lot by writing and then trying out our own recipes and it was very engaging. 

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