With the amount of protesting Eli does every time I ask him to write a sentence, one would think I was asking him to walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope while blindfolded with a monkey on his head – no way! Nope! Can’t do that! Kryptonite is to Superman what a pencil is to Eli, but since his letter formation is atrocious, his sentence structure is atrocious, and his spelling is atrocious, writing is the one thing he most needs to work on. From the time he was born, Eli has never wanted to do anything that he couldn’t excel at right away. If there is any kind of a struggle, he automatically gives up and does something else. It’s not that he gets upset if he can’t do something; he just walks away and adamantly says “not doing that.” Period. Done. No mas. Mind you, Sam is the exact same way, so I’m not surprised that Eli’s personality goes that route too, but it sure makes for some frustrating teaching moments!
Sentence structure and spelling are very important (my kids WILL know how to spell and differentiate between you’re/your) but I also think handwriting is still relevant, despite what some may argue. It doesn’t have to be perfectly constructed letters, but legible would be ideal. It’s been proven in the Journal of Psychological Science that using paper/pen to take notes significantly boosts memory and the ability to retain and recall information. In college and grad school I always took notes by hand and can vividly remember when it came to exam time, sitting in the classroom thinking back to where I wrote the information in my notebook, on which page and placement on the page, to recall the info. A pen and paper allows you to draw arrows to order your notes, insert little afterthoughts where you have questions, and make diagrams to illustrate what the professor is saying. Now, when I went to law school, no one used paper, so I took my laptop to take notes and I had a terrible time with recall of information. All of my notes looked the same…and I was terribly distracted looking at everyone else’s computer screens in the auditorium to see what they were browsing 🙂
Anyways, all of this to say that I believe writing is a critical skill to have and now I have to find a way to get past Eli’s stubbornness in not wanting to write so that he learns what he needs to. Enter “Writing the Room” game! Eli’s fabulous teacher last year gave the students clipboards and had them walk around the room writing down words she had taped in different places. It got the kids out of their desks moving, and they felt uber important with clipboards. I decided to take this activity one step further and turn it into a game to keep both kids engaged. They needed to be working towards a goal and not only writing random words. So, I made all the words be ingredients in one larger food item. Once they wrote down the words, Eli had to read them and decide what main food the ingredients made. Let me tell you, both kids LOVED this!!! Ava was even writing the words and they both were laughing and asking each other if they saw the word on the piano or had found the hidden one on the bookshelf.
Today’s activity was just to test the waters and see how Eli responded to writing before I put a ton of effort into the game, so I only did 8 ingredients for a cheeseburger ~ easy peasy. Since he never complained once while playing, I can add more words next time, or even break up a sentence and have him write the words to make into a sentence at the end. I think next time I’ll do equipment at a park and we’ll actually go to a park after the game!
So many things you can do with this simple writing exercise to make it fun!