The Fun Side of Essay Writing
What is it that motivates kids to write? Unfortunately, many times it is guilt from a teacher or parent. But true writing inspiration needs to come somewhere from deep down inside. My youngest son is a very reluctant writer. He has dyslexia, which decreases his writing confidence, and he thinks that the sequential process of writing is laborious and boring. However, right now, this same 7th grader is deep into writing the second act of a screenplay about zombies. Why the change? The fun and interest of the subject provided the motivation that a hundred lectures from me about writing could never offer.
The classes at Time4Writing are designed to get students excited, involved, and engaged with writing. A recent assignment in the ‘Welcome to the Essay’ course, for instance, asked students to describe the most disgusting meal they ever had. As you can probably already imagine, the kids were happy to comply. Here are some excerpts from their essays:
Student One – –
“I sat at the wooden table in my kitchen and asked mom what was for lunch. I expected one of my favorites. Little did I know I was in for a not so sweet surprise: Salad. I gingerly forked the ranch covered food. Being a mule, I dropped the fork back in the bowl and whined. After a short squabble she told me to eat it. I raised the fork to my mouth in disgust, all the while my grumpy mom grimacing. I took a tiny bite and held it in my mouth to taste it for a moment. Ewwww! I coughed and spit in the trash can like a faucet with air in it saying it was inedible.”
Student Two – –
“There was a salad with sliced green olives covering it along with an olive flavored dressing. To me, olives taste sour and the pieces get stuck in my teeth and cling to my mouth. The taste stays with me for weeks, or so it seems. For example, one time my older brother, Luke, had a birthday party and he loves olives. My mom made a salad with olives on it and also made up a tray with pickles and olives on it for snacks. Everyone dug in. But, I took a few small bites and the taste in my mouth was horrendous. So, having olive salad just added to the most disgusting meal I ever had.”
Student Three – –
“The most disgusting meal I ever had to eat was a homemade tuna pie. I was utterly devastated that my parents made me eat it. I absolutely hate seafood. I especially hate tuna.
My parents made it crystal clear, as soon as I started complaining, that I didn’t have to eat the pie. Only, if didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to eat anything else. Great choices I had! Of course, I chose to eat the stupid tuna.
In the pie, there was not only disgusting tuna, but mushrooms as well. There were also lots of U.S.T.’s (Unidentified Squishy Things). Even the normally delicious pastry was icky and soggy. There was absolutely nothing in the pie that I found the least bit enjoyable.”
It probably isn’t too difficult for any of us to graphically describe the most disgusting meal we have ever eaten. It is a common experience, it is a sensory memory, and it is just plain fun to describe our repulsion and revolt! This is the core of making writing fun. By engaging students with writing experiences that appeal to them on an emotional or sensory level, they can get enthused about putting those words down on the screen.
If you have a child or student who could use some fun motivation to get them excited about writing, why not sign them up for one of the writing courses at Time4Writing? For more information, or to sign up, go to Time4Writing.com.