Wednesday, February 27th marked the start of our second annual writing workshop with our local Boys and Girls Club. For four weeks, about a dozen middle school students will be meeting with us on Wednesday afternoons for fun activities and writing practice.
The workshop this year will focus on three types of writing: true stories, fiction, and poetry. At the end, to celebrate our time together and the writing our students have produced, there will be a special event at which students will read share their masterpieces.
Yesterday’s workshop was about getting to know each other and beginning our work with true stories. To break the ice, each student told a fake story and a true story, and the rest of the class had to guess which had actually happened. We immediately saw that our students have a creative streak, because they came up with some excellent lies!
Next, our students became artists. Each student thought of an interesting or outrageous thing that had happened to them and conveyed it in comic form. The next step will be for them to put the events they drew into words.
Finally, we played a game called Accordion Writing. To start, each student wrote one sentence on a blank sheet of paper. Then, they passed the paper to the student on the right, who drew a picture to accompany the sentence. Here, the game got tricky. Before passing to the right again, the students folded their paper so that the next student could only see the picture, not the original sentence. The student who received the paper had to create a new sentence based on just the picture. Then they folded again so just their sentence was visible and passed once again, charging the next student with drawing a picture solely based upon the sentence they saw.
After five rounds of this, we unfolded the papers so that all the pictures and sentences were visible. Much like the product of a game of Telephone, the original sentence had been completely distorted as the paper was passed, producing some hilarious results.
Our group this year is an engaged, enthusiastic, and creative bunch. We are really excited to see the writing that they produce in the month to come. Stay tuned for updates on our workshop!
-Amber, peer tutor