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A Fun Way to Get Back on Track After Winter Break

Oh, winter break. How I loved and cherished you, and how sad I will be to see you go. But, since it's time to get back to the grind, its time to think about what to do with kiddos that are excited about vacation. Let's be real, they all want to share everything they did on their vacation. I do want to hear about their holidays and times with their families, but there just isn't time for it all smack dab in the middle of the day. In the past, I've had them write about what they did and share with a partner, but it just wasted enough. So, for the past few years I have been using a fun new activity that is working really well. I took an old game that I used to play in school, and put a fun creative writing twist on it: whose story is it?

The concept is simple. The kids get into small groups (4 or 5 students would be best) and share one quick story about their vacation. From experience, I will tell you that keeping the stories quick is the key here. If you have a super chatty group it can be useful to use a timer to give each person 1 - 2 minutes to share their story. The story can be really interesting, or it can be kind of boring. Totally up to the kiddo! After they all share their stories, the group chooses one story to use. This is the hard part, as we all know. Getting it narrowed down to one story can be a real challenge! Asking the kiddos not to vote for their own story can be helpful in narrowing down the choices. 

Then, the story that they have picked will be the story they all write, pretending it is their own story. They will have to put themselves in the narrator's shoes and invent some of the creative elements of the story. They should try to describe things as much as they can to make it believable! When they finish, the kids then each read their version of the story out loud to the class and the class tries to decide who actually told the story to begin with. It's a great opportunity for kids to use their creative writing skills in a different and enjoyable way. It's always funny to see who convinces others that a story is theirs when it is not!

This game is super simple, fun, and has some great academic elements. The kids are using perspective, point of view, and narration skills in their creative writing. They are super motivated to write the story well because of the game aspect of it. I let the kiddos who "win" and trick kids into believing the story is theirs when it is not pick something from my prize bucket. Best of all, they are sharing a story about vacation- like they want to do- while also staying on track academically. It's an all around win!
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