Talking Points

Playful Writing Book Now Available!

Playful Writing Cover image

Writing for fun and discovery!

Find 150 playful writing explorations for young children. Activities include a creative start and uses writing as a natural extension of self-expression, and playful encounters. Prompts and guiding questions keep children writing for real purposes children care about. Each activity includes Early Writer ideas for those emergent learners, as well as Ready Writer activities for those ready for more advanced and complete writing projects.

The playful writing activities are organized into 15 chapters. That include a combination of informational and fictional writing experiences. Take a look!

Playful Writing Link

Categories: adventure writing, Animals/ Nature, Early Childhood, Fantasy and Fairy Tales, Holidays, Humor Writing, Poetry, Science Writing, Talking Points, Writing Games | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Jump Start Podcast: Motivation

pencil drawingWriting Jump Start Podcast

Welcome to the first edition of Writing Jump Starts, a podcast on teaching writing. I’m Rebecca Olien the creator and moderator. As a teacher and author of over fifty books for children and educators, I have picked up a few tips and insights along the way I’d like to share. I hope you enjoy listening!

Episode 1: Motivation

What does it take to motivate children to want to write? Listen to this podcast for motivation tips for teaching writing that just may jump start your own writing.

Stay Tuned for Future Episodes…

  • Writing and Technology
  • Global Connections
  • Kids Find Their Voice
  • Writing for Making a Point
  • Fun Collaborative Writing Projects
  • Painless Editing and Revision
  • How to Motivate Kids and Meet the Common Core Writing Standards

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Playful Learning

Professor Stephen Heppell at Bournemouth University on the importance of playful learning at school and at home.
How do you feel about playful learning? Any suggestions, ideas, or insights of your own?

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97 Days on an Ice Floe

97 Days on an Ice Floe.

via 97 Days on an Ice Floe.

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I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King Day reminds us all of the power of words spoken with passion and conviction. What does this have to do with playful writing? Children love to act out important roles. Setting up a podium, microphone, and tapping into their own passions encourages children to speak out for what they dream about for a better world.drawing of child giving a speech

What You Need: a podium or make one from a tall box, a real or pretend microphone (a child’s karaoke mic works great allow even the softest voices to speak out), dress-up clothes, and a speech!

Play! Watch and listen to important and passionate speeches. A perfect example is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech available from History. com at the following link:

Ask children to describe what makes the speech effective. What speeches are long remembered? What does the speaker say to make people take notice? What body language and voice do speakers use to get points across?

Continue reading

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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Adult Playful Writing

Try taking some time to enjoy a little playful writing during the holidays and winter break. Donald Graves, a guru in writing education, stressed the importance of discovery writing for teachers. When we allow ourselves time to write openly and playfully, we become better at facilitating writing experiences for children.
Here are a few ideas:

Start playful writing journal to explore interesting ideas, new discoveries, dreams, and musings.
Collect bits and parts of writing you have as notes, lists, journals, papers, etc. Cut apart pieces and combine into a creative reconstructed poem, story or collage that includes photos/ pictures.
Design your idea of the perfect vacation, house, bicycle, work space, or any other place or object. Describe this detail and explore your desires.
Imagine yourself as one of the characters in a favorite tv show, movie or novel. Write a scene with yourself as a character.
Create a holiday story with children. Use traditional charters in new situations or makeup new characters. Use the story to make an illustrated book, create puppets to act it out, or put on a family holiday skit.
Artful Writing- bring out the colored pencils, markers, and pens and create a combination of drawing and words to explore an idea, interest, or space.

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Kids Write! Book

If you like these playful writing activities, checkout….

Kids Write!
Rebecca Olien

Kids Write Cover Want to find more activities using playful learning to encourage young writers?

Take a peek at Kids Write! Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, Autobiography, Adventure and More!

View table of contents, sample pages and reviews at Amazon:

Winner of Teachers’ Choice AwardTeachers' Choice Award Seal

Categories: adventure writing, Animals/ Nature, Fantasy and Fairy Tales, Humor Writing, Talking Points, Uncategorized, Writing Games | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Engaging Kids with Questions

The right question is worth a thousand words. Well, maybe not a thousand words, but quite a few sentences! Just like adults, children writers often get stuck even when they are motivated to write through playful activities.
Asking engaging questions makes a world of difference to get those pencils moving (or keys clicking).

Here are some question pointers:

  • Ask open-ended questions that allows the child to answer in complete thoughts rather than one word answers
  • Listen to what the child is telling you about their story, and ask branching questions to help them add details
  • Be engaged with the child to learn about their thinking and imagination, ask questions that you really want to know about- children are masters of knowing when an adult is faking interest
  • Ask questions to help the child add details
  • Use the character names and details from the child’s writing in the question to show your involvement
  • Ask questions to help the child move the story forward- What happens next questions
  • If this is to be the child’s story be careful not to get so involved that you influence the child’s writing with your ideas.
    Continue reading
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