Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Partnerships Really ARE the Best! ClassDojo and Night Zookeeper

This week, ClassDojo and Night Zookeeper partnered up using Class Dojo's Big Idea series to share resources on creative writing.

I love to write! My "before I know what I want to be when I grow up" degree was in journalism. I spent a few years as a newspaper editor. I cranked out articles and edited the articles of my team. The writing part of the job was great! 

However, TEACHING writing to young children is a whole different story. Teaching writing is just simply hard. I find it to be the hardest subject to teach. Therefore, I will gather up all the plentiful resources you can throw at me and use them until the cows come home. And that's just what I did this week when ClassDojo introduced me to the Night Zookeeper.

My 2nd graders sat on the carpet, lights off, eyes on the whiteboard, watching video #1, Creating a Character. We then came back to our desks and eagerly followed the video suggestions, creating a character that had skills and abilities, likes and dislikes, a look, a feel...a character.

Our planning map for creating our character using the Night Zookeeper's suggestions.

Next, we headed back to the carpet, turned the lights out, and watched as the Night Zookeeper series explained to us how to use our 5 senses to create a setting in video #2, Creating a Place. It was amazing. Somehow, my kids went back to their seats and came up with phrases like "It smelled like 1,000 year-old rotten eggs..." and "The sticky candy cane floor crunched loudly under her feet." We shared, we cheered for the great ones and helped the ones almost there get something down.

Our planning map for creating a setting using the suggestions from the 2nd Night Zookeeper video.

The next day, we went on to add details to our story courtesy of the Night Zookeepers lesson #3, Creating Obstacles. We created the problems and tried to give specifics to aid in our creative writing piece. It started to get tough. We lost a little focus. We paused. We decided to go back to the carpet and watch the video again for inspiration. We had found our groove! We were back at it. Just take a look at some of our final work.

I will let you head over to watch the final video in the series, "Creating an Ending". I want to hear what you thought of these great teaching aids. 
  • Did they inspire your students? 
  • Did they help give you some direction in your writing lessons? 
  • Will you use them again when you review creative writing? 
My class would love to see the work your students created after watching the videos. Please share!