For one of my grad school classes, we’ve been working with some gifted 9th-graders from minority backgrounds. I love these kids. They’re hilarious. We’re working on a unit to promote social change through journalism, specifically blogging, so we’re attempting to improve their writing skills, both informative writing and argumentative writing.
To introduce informative writing, we started with a game. It’s like one of those ice-breakers you may have played, where you write a story as a group, each person writing the next sentence. Except for this one, the prompt is an actual lead paragraph from a news story, and they each need to write the next few sentences of what might have appeared in the newspaper.
We encouraged our kids to be creative with it, and they were. More than one story suddenly turned into a report on the zombie apocalypse. Like this one:
Like I said, these kids are hilarious. If you can’t read it from the picture, you can get the jist of it from the title of this blog post, an alleged quote from Bruce Willis, of Die Hard fame.
However, the assignment proved to be more useful than simply giving the kids a creative outlet; we gained valuable information about how their writing skills currently stand. Not bad, in my opinion. I think we’ll have fun with this unit.
You can find a free download of the prompts we used (taken mostly from the Chicago Tribune) after the jump.
DOWNLOAD: Journalistic Writing Game
Our work with these kids is focused on social change, especially involving the violence in Chicago and in schools, so the prompts focus on those issues, with some others thrown in for fun. You can choose prompts that fit in better with your current unit.