Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category

Sidewalk Writing: Five Ideas

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Sidewalk Writing

by Brave Writer student and intern, Finlay Worrallo

Sidewalk chalk is not only for drawing pictures. Why not use it to write with, as well? Grab some chalks, find a sidewalk or pavement, and write! (Be sure to check first if any laws apply; not all sidewalk chalking is legal.)

Here are five ideas for sidewalk writing:

1. Big writing
Write words on the sidewalk in great BIG letters, as big as you can make them. You could write your name, a joke, some copywork, or simply words you love the sound of. You decide!

2. Colorful writing
Do some words look better in black than yellow, or vice versa? What colors suit different words best? Maybe red chalk for verbs and blue chalk for nouns or green chalk for long words and pink for short? Write words you like in different colors and see how they look.

3. Temporary writing
A cool thing about writing with chalk is that it’s easy to get rid of, either by rubbing it away or pouring water over it. What could you write in chalk knowing it would be quickly erased? Find a patch of pavement and write a secret in small letters. How does it feel to have those words outside of you, in the world, visible and solid? Think about that for a moment then pour a bucket of water on what you’ve written and let it all dissolve!

Sidewalk Writing

4. Public writing
What do you want to tell the world or, at least, the people who walk in your neighborhood? A cheery message? A strong opinion? A daring idea? A favorite quotation? Write so that every passerby will read what you’ve written!

5. Interactive writing
Encourage others to join in! Writing in an outside space gives people the chance to add their thoughts. You might chalk: “Write happy thoughts here!” then leave a piece of chalk on the sidewalk so others can share. Or start writing a list of your favorite books, places in town, or foods, and let people add their own as they stroll past.

So next time the weather’s nice, get some sidewalk chalks. Write big, write colorfully, and be chalky!

P.S. Make your own scented sidewalk chalk! Here are instructions by BitzNGiggles.
Images by Brave Writer moms, Jennifer and Cheryl

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Prepare thyself

Monday, November 9th, 2015

10 ways to prepare for the new holiday homeschool rhythm

The holidays are on their way. Halloween has barely returned to its grave when Christmas future haunted my in-box! Black Friday sales are already in promotion, pictures of gift items have snow flakes and garlands around them.

The tendency is to brace oneself for the coming onslaught of spending, relatives, too much food, and the pressure to make “perfect memories for the children.”


Appreciate the good you’ve already got going.

Traditions matter, but they also snowball if you let them! Pick the 3-5 that are especially important. Do those. Other “experiences” from previous years can be rotated out this season or delegated to another family member.

Homeschool can include some of these practices:

1. It’s great to bake and learn to write recipes.

2. It’s lovely to spend a day raking leaves and hanging lights.

3. Gift lists are ideal for handwriting practice.

4. Poetry Teatimes can include holiday songs.

5. Take advantage of shopping and sales to make math more practical and applicable to daily life.

6. A little world (aka geography, history!) tour for holiday traditions from other parts of the globe can add new interest to tired local customs too.

7. Calculations about the possible speeds and distances Santa must travel are great exercises in logic for the un-believing.

8. Create a family tree so that your kids know who is sending what cards and gifts and how they are related.

9. Build in family movie night so you can watch a time-honored holiday film together.

10. Hike! Tis the season! Get out in nature while it is still crisp, clear, and colorful.

The rhythm of homeschool changes around the holidays—use that to your advantage. January, with all its academic promise, is right around the corner. Give in to the holiday enthusiasm and bend it to your homeschool will. Prepare thyself for a lovely season of learning and joy.

The rhythm of homeschool changes around the holidays—use that to your advantage.

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Time Travel Writing Project

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Time travel tour brochure writing project


I have a project idea to share with you. I saw this as a suggested activity for middle schoolers for a history assignment and it caught my imagination. Students make a Time Travel Tour brochure. I imagine students would first need to familiarize themselves with travel brochures to get an idea of how to make one. For each stop on the tour they write up a brief synopsis on what to expect to see while there that shows their knowledge of that event in time.

As an activity near the end of a semester or school year this could be both fun and good review. Also, if done as a group, making a collection of tours into a book would be fun, too. In a co-op setting you could also present the tours to the group.

I just wanted to share it with you. I’ve enjoyed using the writing projects from Brave Writer with my own kids as well as in co-op classes.


Image by Sam Valadi (cc cropped, text added)

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Student Spotlight: Caleb!

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Crossword writing activity

Hi Julie,

Here is an activity I did with my son. It is not one of the activities in Partnership Writing but similar to the one using words from magazines.

I had both my kids (11 and 13) each use a set of scrabble tiles to create their own crossword on the tabletop. Both enjoyed the activity. The sheer volume of words they considered during this project was staggering.

The next time, I only did the activity with my 11 year old reluctant writer. I used the other scrabble set and made a crossword as well.

When we had finished, I asked Caleb to use some of his words to write a few sentences or a poem or a paragraph. It didn’t matter how many he used as long as some of them were from the crossword. I also used some of my words to write a story.

Well, Caleb worked for about 2 and a half hours. I only expected him to work for a short while and write a few sentences. He became completely engrossed in the process. He challenged himself to use all the words.

I am amazed at what he produced compared to what he has ever written before.

He has revisited the story a couple of times and read it out loud to check the punctuation. He was keen to be the editor so I have left that to him.

Kindest regards,

The Trick

by Caleb

“Ah, so many options to choose from.” James said, “Wow!” he exclaimed, “This pot of rations has a bag of seeds and a batch of biscuits in it!”
“Hmm, it really is getting on isn’t it, I better get back to the inn to complete that exam.

Once he’d got to the inn however, his friends snuck in to his cabin to rig up a trap.
They unanimously voted on who was the one to lead James into the right spot. They individually wrote who they thought should do it on separate bits of paper and put it into a fez, out of some dress-ups they had found, and a name was then picked out. Once one was picked out Callum said, “It’s a pity that we have to tip a bucket full of water on his head, because he told me today that he used an awful lot of gel because his hair was sticking up like turkey feathers.” He was clearly trying to talk the others out of doing what they were planning because he had been voted to lead James. While he said this though, the boys weren’t focusing on what he was saying because they were trying not to laugh at his t-shirt because it was stretched so much at the bottom that it looked like a frock.

“Gee, that maths exam was super hard.” James exclaimed to himself. He had no idea what was in store for him. As he walked into the cabin he spotted Callum, “Hi James, I was just looking for you.” Callum said. Everything was ready. The bucket with the yoyo string attached was in place, so were the boys in the roof. They could look down into the room for there were no boards in the ceiling stopping them. The bucket was on a beam and the boys had the string attached to it, so that when they pulled the yoyo, the bucket went toppling. James hadn’t looked at anything above the clock on the wall, so hadn’t seen them squatting in the roof, so the boys thought. The truth being James had already worked out what they were doing, and had a plan of action.

“Come over here, I want to show you this rock I found.”
“Ok.” He said pretending to be interested. He started walking towards the spot where he knew the bucket was going to fall. As soon as he nearly got there he said in a hurried voice “Quick, there is the air-raid siren!” James started towards the exit, and as Callum was not the smartest of children, did so as well even though James had deliberately set him up. The bucket had already started falling, indicating the string had already been pulled, so by the time the water had got there, it wasn’t James, but Callum who was under it, and the water was all over his head. “I’ve never broken my jaw but that felt pretty close to it!” he cried out as soon as it had hit, “Plus, you guys are idiots.” He turned on his heel and out the door. There was an awkward silence only to be broken by either a frog or a toad croak, no one could tell. “Well, that was a flawed plan. Plus I’m surprised he never broken his jaw before he plays so much rugby league.” One of the friends said knowingly.

Image by Ngaire (text added)

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Summer To Do List

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Summer To Do List

Saw this fantastic To Do list for Summer while at a family reunion and thought of all our Brave Writer families. The activities are things like

water balloon fights,

taking a hike,

riding a pony,

movie in the backyard,

sidewalk art, and

visiting Grandpa at work!

You might consider creating vision for the summer in a similar way!

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