Monday, February 23, 2009

Writing Challenge -Using Random Text Phrases


Ask your students to choose up to five random phrases from a book they are currently reading or from a series of favourite books, should these be available. The criteria for choosing a particular phrase would be its appeal as an example of good word use, or it may be that the words chosen assist them to make a connection to an experience in their own lives. This would assist them greatly when writing a personal narrative.

Ask them to then choose one phrase that appeals above the others and use the chosen words somewhere in a writing piece. –at the beginning, within the body of the text, or at the end. Before asking your students to try this, I suggest you try it yourself. Here is my attempt:


My chosen phrases from three sources:

She leaned forward earnestly searching out my face (In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje)
The gears crunched and the truck wheeled onto the main road (Heart Songs, Annie Proulx)
Dragonflies hovered above the pool. (Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko )


EXAMPLE ONE -Discovery the Pool
The bushland behind our house held many surprises. We loved to explore it whenever we could. It held no fear for us, or lat least no fear that we spoke of. On once occasion we followed an overgrown stretch of track that lead to a clearing. As we moved forward we noticed a large grey concrete pool filled with what looked like swamp water. We later discovered that what we had stumbled across was the town’s long abandoned swimming pool. As we circled gingerly around the concrete apron, peering into the murky depths, dragonflies hovered above the pool.


EXAMPLE TWO -Nana and the Coat
The prospect of going into the city with my Nana was exciting, and so was the prospect of wearing my new coat. The fact that it was summer time and quite a warm day didn’t seem to worry me. I really wanted to wear that coat. Nana tried to explain that wearing my coat was not a good idea. “It will be too hot. You should wear your coat on a cold day. Leave it home”

As we stood at the front gate, I listened carefully to her words, and then began crying. “But I want to wear it Nana!”
She leaned forward earnestly searching out my face. “Okay,” she said. “You may wear your coat, but you must wear it all day.”

EXAMPLE THREE - The Trip in the Old Truck
The gears crunched and the truck wheeled onto the main road. What a messed up machine it was. Rattling shaking and hissing down the road. I sat uncomfortably in the right hand passenger seat while David drove. The truck was a wild beast, lurching and leaning throughout the trip. David worked hard to maintain its direction. I worked hard to overcome my concern. The gears crunched loudly each time he tried to change up or down. A cry of pain perhaps...

We were hauling a load of beef to a series of Melbourne butcher’s shop in the early hours of the morning. In the back of our minds we wondered if the old troubled, truck would last the journey.

Okay, now it's your turn. Good Luck...

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