Wednesday's Wonderful Website: Scholastic Story Starters
Recently I spoke to my homeschool group about teaching writing. There are so many wonderful websites out there to help in this endeavor. One site that I like just a little more than others is Scholastic Story Starters. On the site, your child simply starts by picking a theme: adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, or scrambler (which is miscellaneous). Then, the appropriate grade level needs to be chosen (K-1, 2, 3, or 4-6). After that, the child pulls a virtual lever to put together an assignment comprised of three parts. Examples of these three part statements include the following: “make a grocery list for/a pink donut/who plays soccer," "describe meeting/ a noisy butterfly/ who lives in a shoe," "write a short play about/ a talented copilot /who rescues a spaceship,” or “write a bedtime story about/ a proud princess /who owns a magic wand.” While there is one lever that changes all of the parts at once, your child also has the option of changing an individual segment (say if you, as the parent, don't like the topic). Once your child has typed in the assignment, he or she can pick to "publish" the product as a notebook entry, letter, postcard, or newspaper. Adding a drawing is a nice option that's included, too! After that, your child can download the story and/or print it.
I love that the site encourages children to explore various genres (types of writing). Had I told Little Tech Guy to write a play, he would have given me a difficult time. However, when a website tells him to do it, he can't wait to get started. Other benefits of this site include a word count and also the ability to continue writing on more than one page. (Some writing websites I checked out had a one-page limit.)
If you like this idea but don't want to use the web for writing, you can simply take three jars and label one of them "Who," label one "Where," and label one "What." Add little slips of paper with the pertinent information and have your child draw one slip of paper from each chair.
Have fun! Go check out http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/story-starters