Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A LUE Writing Contest

What:  Take the words at the bottom of this post and write a story of interest to a third grade girl.  She is an English Language Learner and does not have a  lot of cultural background references.  

Why: This semester I have worked with one particular third grade girl in my assessment class.  She has patiently endured reading inventories, interest inventories, spelling assessments, auditory and visual discrimination tests AND tutoring in word study/phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension strategies, etc.

Because my student is an English Language Learner, I have spent a lot of my time working with her on vocabulary.  Vocabulary is important for any student, but especially important for someone learning a new language.  Each week, I picked three or four words, created flash cards with visual aids (my silly drawings) and had her work on both word recognition and meaning.  As we near the end of our time together (two more sessions), all the assessments and tutoring are finished.

My professor was just saying that if you can only do one thing for a student, teach them a word. Vocabulary knowledge is a key that unlocks so many doors in learning.  I would love for my student to retain the words she had learned with me.  I also would love for her to have something special to take with her.

Why Not Me?  Um... I can ramble in a blog and write a poem every decade or so.  Creative writing, however, is not my strong suit.  I read so many wonderful writers, I thought someone out in the blog'verse could come up with something way more engaging than anything I could ever write.

Who?  Anyone who reads this and is interested.

How? Take the words that I will list at the bottom of this post and write the best story you can that appeals to a third grade girl.  Keep the concepts fairly simple and references to pop culture a minimum.  She isn't very familiar with those types of references.  Send your entry to me at marylue42 at csu dot fullerton dot edu.

When:  Submit to me on Monday, December 1, 2008 by midnight.

On picking a winner:  I will judge the entries based on creativity and appropriateness.  If I have more than one contender, I will ask a few friends to help me choose.

What does the winner get?  In addition to the good feeling of creating something special for an eight year old girl, the prize of this contest will be a $20 gift certificate to to be delivered by email.  With the winner's permission, I will also post the story to Life, the Universe and Everything.

So, what do you think?  Does this sound interesting to anyone?  If it doesn't sound interesting to you, maybe you know someone who would like to try.  Pass the word.  I think my student will love this and remember it for a very long time.

If you have any questions, give me a holler, here in the comments or by email.

Here are the words.  There are 27 of them if you include peek, wave, and pull and their 'ed' versions.  The words were chosen because they were in stories we read or they met certain needs.  Some taught inflections, affixes, prefixes.  Some taught phonics rules OR exceptions. Some were chosen because they were multisyllabic.  Most of them were also on a national third grade vocabulary list.

Peek and Peeked
Pull and Pulled
Wave and Waved

Good luck!

19 down, 11 to go


Anonymous said...

What a great idea!

Mel said... cool.

I'm definitely not a writer of any stories but my own. But I'll pass the word to some folks who are?

What a fun thing to do for the kiddo!

John Ross said...

Like Subspace said, Great Idea - and a very worthwhile endeavor I'm sure.
It would be an unusual thing for me. But, I might....just to see what I could come up with.

Sometimes I wonder what would be IF I had paid attention to those aptitude tests that said I might be good at teaching or research.