Friday, March 13, 2009

Writing Fun

Rarely do you find the words writing and fun together, at least not in my house. When I suggest (well require) someone write a Haiku or book report or thank you notes or grocery list for me or spelling list or complete sentences for anything, I'm met with lots of grumbling.

How will this help me someday? 
 Why can't reading the book be good enough? 
 I'm not a speller. 
 Poetry is stupid. 

Games are great for helping kids learn to write quickly, spell without asking, and write legibly.  Here's one game I use to sneak in some spelling practice.

If spelling isn't a favorite subject and you need to sneak it into your school day, then you need the game Eye to Eye. It can be purchased from a SimplyFun dealer. If you're not familiar, SimplyFun is another home party like Tupperware or MaryKay but it's all games. At the party you play a bunch of the games to get a feel for them and then you get a chance to buy them. Now, the games are pricey, but very fun and excellent quality. My whole family had so much fun playing Eye to Eye at the party that we bought it. But I didn't buy the starter set, just one of the add on sets. This game will not get your kids writing complete sentences or Haikus, but it will help them think quickly and write those words down. The more familiar you are with your alphabet, spelling rules and forming letters the better player you will be. Here's how we play. It works best with 3 or more people. Each person gets a pad of paper, pencil and then some chips (dry beans). We use 10 or more per person depending on how long we want to play. The object of the game is to get rid of your beans first. The first person picks a card and chooses a topic, say Classic Disney Films. Then everyone writes down 3 Classic Disney Films. The person who chose the topic reads their list and if anyone else matches, they both place one of their beans in the middle, thus getting closer to winning. Once everyone has read their list and matched with whoever they could the next person draws a card and chooses a topic. We let the person choosing the topic draw as many cards as they want until they find a topic they like. This has helped our 7 year old learn to write quick and not worry so much about spelling because if she asks how to spell Cinderella then everyone knows that's on her list and it's not as much fun. She has, however, found out that spelling is important. For example, tonight she wrote 'PUCiVy' as a term of endearment. When it was her turn to read her list she tried sounding it out and became confused by what she had written. At that point she said, "I better learn to spell better." Now that's what I call real learning and natural consequences. No one could match with her because she didn't even know what she'd written. SimplyFun's Eye to Eye is a great game to get kids writing and having fun at the same time

*I did not get paid to say any of this; we just enjoy the game and have found it to be a great learning tool.