Spring SAVY 2019, Day 1 – Witty Wordplay (1st/2nd)
Saturday, week 1, was a fabulous day for our wordsmiths! I was happy to welcome back friends whom I have previously taught in either SAVY courses or enrichment, and I was thrilled to make friends with students who are new to SAVY. After a few icebreakers, everyone felt at home.
I wanted to begin by sharing our course objectives for the six Saturdays that we will be learning together. The major objectives for this course are that students will be able to:
1. Explain how writers use specific systems of techniques to achieve a purpose
2. Apply and use specific writing techniques to enhance writing, and to convey a message
3. Develop an understanding of the concept of systems, especially systems of writing, and apply this knowledge to real world situations
Since it is important to ascertain student prior knowledge of the overarching concept of “systems” to guide and differentiate instruction for this course, after I modeled how to do a concept map, students did a concept map to show what they already knew about systems. I look forward to a galaxy of student learning and growth during the weeks we spend together!
Before we could begin writing, we looked many different forms of communicating the word: horse, with and without words. We looked at ancient cave drawings and current words and symbols from different countries and the vast ways they communicate this one word. The class considered what words are and decided on a general definition which we wrote on our What is a Word? chart.
As a beginning entry into writer’s techniques, and in order to expand and exercise student thinking and creativity, as writers, students experienced the Dr. Seuss book, On Beyond Zebra. The author’s purpose in this book is to open students’ minds to think about how to create new witty words from the twenty-six letters in the alphabet. In other words (pun intended), don’t just write text using traditional words but journey into the world of witty wordsmithing. Students showed their absolute joy at then creating their own made-up words and their meanings, with vowel and consonant tiles. They even recorded some of their new words on a chart that we have named: Wacky Words! It you have letter tiles at home, this would be a fun activity during the week to see how many made-up words you and your student can make and assign word meanings.
We didn’t stop there, however! From another mentor writer, we read Shel Silverstein poems and discussed the author’s craft of using rhyming and witty wordplay. Our final activity was to create a “scranimal”, new animal that is a combination of an animal and another thing, such a fruit, vegetable, something else. Students named their animals and then either wrote a poem about their newscranimal or wrote sentences to describe it. Creativity was exploding! This would be a great activity at home to do with your student this week.
Week 1 At-Home Activity (not required, but encouraged!): Students can try writing poems with rhyme, rhythm, and witty words to share next Saturday when we meet again.
I look forward to more witty word play next week!
Word Invention Fun