Thursday, October 21, 2010

Made of Awesome: Weekly Writer Activity

Here’s a great way to add creative writing to your week:  Weekly Reader (another company I quite enjoy) has a Weekly Writer serial writing activity that features some of your students’ favorite authors! 

From the site:

“Each week, the Weekly Writer presents another cliff-hanger. Ideally, the entry leaves readers eager to know what happens next.”

The Weekly Writer entries are composed by some of the most popular, award-winning writers in children’s and young adult literature, such as Walter Dean Myers, R.L. Stine, Lois Lowry, Chris Van Allsburg, and Stephen King.  They write the beginning of a story which culminates in a cliffhanger, and students can read and submit their additions to the story and have them posted on the website for all to enjoy!

Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has written this week’s story.  Imagine your students’ wonder as they contribute to a story written by their favorite authors!

This week’s submission is due by Thursday.  Be sure to check the teacher’s page for tips on how to implement this activity.  Check the site periodically for authors added to its roster and new stories!

Here are a few lesson plan ideas:

  1. Weekly Writer could be ideal whether you’re looking for a writing center/station, writing workshop lessons, a long-term creative writing project or an enrichment activity.  Students can read the beginning of the story each week individually, in groups, or as a class.  Then, they can work on the story during the week, edit and fine-tune their ideas, and submit their completed work to Weekly Reader.  The class can also check the serial story’s evolution on the website.  Celebrate as a class if one of your students is chosen to have their work posted on the site!
  2. As the website suggests, this activity is great for exploring story elements and author’s craft.
  3. After reviewing the stories, have your class start its own serial writing activity.  Over the course of several weeks, students can begin an original story and add to it in installments.  Post the updates on a classroom blog.
  4. Read the story beginnings to the class once a week, brainstorm some thoughts as a class, and then assign a daily journal writing activity that allows students to continue their own version of the story.  When the final version of the story is posted, read it together as a class and have students share their work to everyone or small groups.
  5. Use Weekly Writer to initiate an author study.  Have students research the authors and read some of the popular novels they’ve written.  You can also have your class research the history of serial writing. The site mentions Charles Dickens, yet there are many other authors who got their start by writing stories in installments.  Encourage your students to find about other authors and stories that use this technique.


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