Another new school year is here, and now is the time to get writing samples from your students. Don’t just ask your students to write about what they did over summer vacation, give them an opportunity to help pick their writing prompt with this carnival-style game. This quick activity can be used each time you get a writing sample for progress monitoring and can even be used as a reward after the students complete their writing sample if time allows.
You can use different materials to accomplish the same goal, such as bean bags and soda cans or bottles, but I prefer the shower poufs and pool noodles because they are cheap, quiet, and lightweight, which helps when I’m carrying them from school to school.
These can be found at most dollar stores.
- 1 pool noodle
- 3 shower poufs
- serrated knife
- permanent marker
What to do:
- Cut the pool noodle into pieces about 6 inches long with a serrated knife.
- Mark each noodle piece with a number using a permanent marker (optional).
How to play:
- Set up the pool noodles on the end of the table or on the floor.
- Display three writing prompts, numbered one to three, on a board or other location where the students can see them.
- Have the students each throw three shower poufs at the pool noodle pieces, aiming for the ones with numbers that match the prompts they like the most.
- The students then choose from the writing prompts that correspond to the numbers on the noodle pieces that they knocked over. For example, if a student knocked over pool noodles #2 and #3, he gets to pick either writing prompt #2 or #3.
- If a student doesn’t knock over any pool noodles, you can give him more throws until he hits one or just assign him writing prompt #1.
Example Writing Prompts:
- Share a story about something you did this summer. Remember to include details that answer who, what, when, where, and why questions.
- If you were a teacher, where would you take your class on a field trip? Tell about what your students would see and learn there.
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? Explain how you would use your superpower.
- Describe what type of location you would like to live in when you grow up (e.g., near the beach, in the mountains, in the country, near a big city, etc.).
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