Fun After Holidays Writing Activity

2008 Holiday Memory Book

Time Frame:  A least a week, but could be even more.  Do not worry about getting writing project finished in a specific amount of time, just let the child work at their pace and enjoy it.

Materials:   Notebook paper, a tablet, a spiral notebook, or a composition book (whatever material you have to make a book out of), markers, colored pencils, crayons, and pictures

1.  Pre-write:  Brainstorm all the fun activities and things done over the holidays including the funny things, happy things, poignant and exciting moments, surprises, special foods, gifts given and received , and people involved.  Be sure to add as many details as you can remember.  Colors, smells, how things looked, how they felt, special sounds, how you felt.

2.  Begin first draft:

  • Write introduction:  Begin with an interesting anecdote or memory such as:  When my cousin arrived from New York we flew into a screaming ball of joy hugging and yelling, until my father finally had to make us quiet down so the adults could regain their hearing.  That started the fun of the whole family coming together for the holidays.
  • Continue writing a paragraph for each special thing that happened to you over the holidays.  The more information put in the story the more it will be enjoyed when read later.  Be sure to add ALL the details including what people said, what pets were doing, how good the fudge tasted, how you felt, etc.
  • Write a conclusion that sums up the whole holiday experience such as:  I think that even though my cousin and I did have a few squabbles we really did have a wonderful holiday.  When her family left it felt quiet and empty at our house and I can hardly wait till next year’s holiday season.  I just hope it will be as good as 2008.

3.   Instructor or parent edit the paper.   This is best done by noting where mistakes were made on a separate piece of paper rather than writing on the students paper.  Note things  such as where punctuation, capitalization, grammar, paragraphing, spelling errors are. Try not to find so many errors that the child becomes overwhelmed and shuts down.  Once the paper is edited give it back to the child and ask them to find the three errors in capitalization, or the spelling error in paragraph two, or take a look at the second paragraph and tell me where you think you could add a new paragraph.  This way the student is finding their own mistakes which will eventually enable them to do the editing themselves.  This can be done by peer editors too.  It is difficult at first, but they will become more and more proficient as they do it.   THE KEY TO DEVELOPING A GOOD WRITER IS TO NOT MAKE THE EDITING OF MISTAKES THE PRIMARY FOCUS, BUT TO LOOKING AT THE CONTENT AND ENCOURAGING THE CHILD TO ELABORATE AND MAKE THE STORY INTERESTING AND THE EXPERIENCE OF WRITING FUN.

4.  Student writes second draft or final paper, correcting mistakes and adding even more interesting information as they think of it.   (Parent or instructor decides how many drafts need to be written before writing the final paper.)

5.  After writing the final paper student may then do all of the artwork to make the book colorful and exciting to read.  If you have pictures, they may be included to make the book even more fun

6.  Put the book together by whatever means available

7.  Enjoy

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