I know I keep posting about Brave Writer’s Partnership Writing, but it has been so much fun and such a good purchase. If anyone out there is new to Brave Writer or got The Writer’s Jungle and has no idea what to do next, it’s a really practical set of projects for kids who can write a little, but aren’t yet able to just sit down and churn out something without help.
We tackled the second project, making a personal timeline, and it ended up taking a month and then some. That’s because from the first moment that I introduced the project, the kids had their own ideas about what sort of things they would ask the grandparents and put on their timeline.
First, the kids brainstormed and wrote down interview questions, which I typed up for them. I suggested that they interview the Husband and me and perhaps a grandparent or two, but they insisted on doing all five grandparents as well as one of the great-grandparents. Not only that, but the questions they had were unexpected, like, “What was the worst job you ever had?” and “What was your scariest moment?” Not exactly timeline of life events material. However, the kids pushed through even though it took quite awhile and a lot of slow note taking. It was very special to see them interview all those people. When they interviewed their great-grandmother, they discovered that her “best” job was almost the same job that was their grandfather’s “worst.” It was a job they both had as teens in a local peanut factory. Even if much of the information wasn’t timeline type stuff, it was really cool to see them ask good questions and hear family stories.
Next, we chose pictures and picked which events would actually end up on the timeline. I made post-it notes with the events and let the kids arrange them, then write them in. We had to do some math to figure out the scale for the timeline. It ended up in three sections with three different colors of paper for each one: before I was born (the past), my life (the present), and what I might do in the rest of my life (the future).
It was fascinating to see what sort of things the kids think their future holds. Both of them put appearing on Jeopardy! as a future life event. Mushroom planned to be a movie star, but later in life, perhaps like his father, who only started acting recently. BalletBoy had his future very mapped out, but couldn’t come up with anything after age 30 except that he plans to die at age 89.
BalletBoy cracked me up many times during this project. At one point, he told a stuck Mushroom, “You can put anything for the future, even something like invent a time machine. Ooh! I’m putting that on mine!” At age 30, BalletBoy plans to invent his time machine. Later, as he pasted on photos he asked me if he could include photos of himself making the timeline, just to keep it really up to date.
So yet another Partnership Writing project didn’t go quite as scripted, but was a blast to do and I’m thrilled with the results. There was a huge amount of writing for the kids with this project. They wrote questions, their own life events, their future life events, notes for all eight of the interviews they did, and then finally wrote on the final timeline and titled it. It was an impressive amount of work.
When we come back from break and start fourth grade at the end of September, I’ll be glad to have what looks like a much lower key project with the Homonyms mini-book next.