Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seven Nonfiction Journal Prompts That Work

So I tried one of the "one morning I woke up" jumpstart prompts with Tai last week and it kind of bombed. The "design  your own school" prompt worked well in September, but "I woke up as small as a mouse"--not so much. "Um," he said tentatively, "Can I just write about what I did on"

Well, okay.

I'm not giving up on the mouse prompt. But if you have a kid who does not particularly like to make up fanciful stories, here are some non-fiction options. Tai used to rely on option 5 last year, and now he loves options number 1 and 2.
  1. Write about your latest exploits in the game you played today. What are your hopes/plans/goals for the next time you play?
  2. What did you build in Minecraft today? How did you do it? What are you planning next?
  3. Pick a few useful/important/cool game items and explain why they are important/useful/cool.
  4. Pick a few interesting/important/cool objects from a favorite game, movie, story, etc. and describe them as if for a DK Encyclopedia. (one sentence per item is fine, if there are four or five items. One item with four or five sentences is even better!) Drawing them is okay, but it extends the writing time.]
  5. Draw a spaceship (or car, or bike, or whatever) with special features and capabilities. Label and explain their uses.
  6. Draw a castle, (palace, fort, fairy dwelling, space station, house) with whatever special features you like. Label and explain.
  7. Draw a map of the room you would love to have, including colors, magic portals, hidden weapons caches, and explain what you've drawn. Label and explain.
One variation--which Tai came up with, bless his heart--would be to respond to prompt #1 in the voice of your child's online avatar. Or the avatar's arch-enemy! Great practice with voice and point of view.

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