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Bright Idea: Creative Writing Response for Any Book

It’s another Bright Ideas Link-Up! I’m so excited to participate in one of the best link-ups I’ve seen. Teachers share great ideas from their classrooms, and not a product in sight. Just lots of super ideas for the classroom! 
My post today is a simple strategy to help students respond to any text, whether it’s a poem, a story, or even informational text. We used it last year to respond to this book: A Perfect Season for Dreaming by Ben Saenz. 
The beauty of this strategy is how accessible it makes writing to kids with limited vocabularies. Here are the steps:
1. Set your purpose for reading: to notice and record interesting words. As you read the book aloud to the students, record the interesting words they enjoy on index cards. Each group of students can create their own set of index cards, if you’d like, or you can make a class set. 

2. Sort the words. To help students understand their new words and their usage, sort them into different groups. We sorted into different parts of speech: verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.

And then we sorted into different tone words: positive and negative. 

4. Use the words to create a poem. Students can use the words on the cards to create lines in their poem. They can also add words to help their poems make sense.

This was the poem that we made out of these cards:

Summer arrives, bursting into flame.
Colors escaping from every bloom.

The cloudless sky
is shot with yellow sun.
How easy is that?! And yet, the kids really took off and shared some beautiful writing! One of our third grade teachers had students use the words to write about a special relationship they shared with someone else, because the book, A Perfect Season for Dreaming, describes the relationship between the grandfather and the granddaughter. Through using these words, students were able to describe their relationships beautifully and with complex language. 

I hope you try it! If you do, I’d love to see pictures!
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