Trouble keeping little minds focused, or front and centered? Usually, the mind wanders when they are becoming "stupid over their lessons" as Charlotte Mason was fond of saying. I find that some of the best ways to combat this "troublesome trolley" (which is a Thomas the Train phrase) is to stop what we are doing, and switch up to something that is fun, engaging, and a bit playful.
Write Shop StoryBuilders are a perfect solution to this menacing problem. Not necessarily a writing program, but rather a skill building activity which incorporates fun into the process. Simply start with the card set of choice, choose one of the many suggestions listed for utilizing it, and then let the creative juices flow! You could spend ten or fifteen minutes doing this "warm up" exercise, before settling into the regular writing assignment. But don't stop there-pull them out whenever the need strikes. Use it to redirect their minds, or to move them along with their studies.
For instance, my family decided we would do a "round robin" type of game using the World of Animals StoryBuilding cards. Everyone had to take their own cards, come up with a goofy sentence using them; and then as the story continued they had to remember what the previous sentence(s) were to string it all together to form the silly story. We played quite a few rounds of this only to find that the more we continued, the better we became at creating stories. By using the Character, Character Trait, Setting, and Plot Cards we were able to come up with some real whoppers and loads of laughs. This is a "dangerous" product for my family, as we tend to be a rather humorous bunch! I look forward to the next round to see what those fascinating critters are up to.
There is also the World of Sports StoryBuilders set which opens a whole new door to crazy mixed-up story lines for my family to create. If you have kids who live, eat and breathe sports, this is a sure hit for them. One of the hidden perks with Write Shop StoryBuilders is that they are learning a whole new set of vocabulary, and sentence structure, while "playing" a game. It is sort of like hiding the veggies in the dessert so they will eat them.
For the price, these babies earn a piggy bank. Please remember, these are eBooks, so you will have to download the product and then copy off the cards. They offer up two ways to accomplish this. The first is to print in black ink on colored card stock (yes, use card stock as they will be handled a lot and need to stand up to it) or print them on white card stock with colored ink (each section has a different color-for instance: Character cards have blue ink). Really, it only takes a few sheets per section and you can find a pack of mixed colors at your local craft store for less than $5. Just keep an eye out for the sales (JoAnn Stores constantly run their card stock packs for 40% off-so you spend $2.40 for 50 sheets). There are no pictures, only words, so the ink use is not too problematic. If you can, laminate them. But using the card stock, they will hold up pretty good without doing it.
for the littles, if they cannot read-you'll have to help them a bit.
but the older kiddos will be able handle the reading/writing
(if partaking in those suggestions)
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Write Shop Home Page
StoryBuilders eBooks: $7.95 each
Also available at the TOS Store: StoryBuilders: World of Animals
other WS products at TOS
Don't forget to see what my crew mates have to say-head to our TOS Crew Homepage for more info on this product any more.
**Write Shop provided me with a free copy each of the StoryBuilders: World of Animals and World of Sports eBooks, in order to test and use it with my family, so I could write this review.