This is an activity which I just recently learned from Emma Vanderpool, a fellow Latin teacher, and it is based on Bob Patrick's One Word at a Time (OWAT) activity. Emma modified this as a pre-reading activity to introduce new vocabulary, which is the original intent of an OWAT. However, I made some changes and used it as a pre-writing activity to prepare students for a free write and therefore used known vocabulary. Here are directions for either use:
Pre-Reading (to introduce new, targeted vocabulary) - here are Emma's directions
- Students should sit in columns.
- Every student has a piece of paper. Inform students that they will cooperatively write a 6-sentence story.
A new target word is projected on the board. The students must use that word in a sentence to begin the story.
Students then pass the piece of paper to the student behind them, and a new word is projected on the board.
The receiver should read the sentence(s) written, illustrate the latest sentence, and then write a new sentence to the story.
The paper should be passed 6 times
Pre-Writing (to prepare students for a writing. This uses known vocabulary) - these are my directions
- Students should sit in columns in groups of 4.
- Every student has a piece of paper. Inform students that they will cooperatively write a 8-sentence story.
- Two known words are projected on the board. The students must choose ONE of the words to create a sentence to begin the story. Here are my Google Slides which I projected.
- Students then pass the piece of paper to the student behind them, and a new choice of words is projected on the board.
- The receiver should read the sentences written, illustrate the latest sentence, and then write a new sentence to the story.
- The paper should be passed 8 times.
- Spend around 4 minutes for each slide. In the beginning, students probably will not need 4 minutes, but as more sentences are added, they will need that time to read over what has already been written and to have time to figure out what to add.
- It was fun for students to read their "stories" afterwards and to see where the stories went based on their original sentence.
- Giving students a choice of known words for a pre-writing activity allowed for more variety in creating their sentences, BUT I will also try this out with giving new words one at a time like in a regular OWAT to see how it works in previewing vocabulary.
- Although the stories became rather random, the stories still made sense to a degree!
- Making students use a particular word(s) for their sentences gave them parameters but still gave them a degree of freedom in how to use that word(s).
- This activity requires critical thinking, because students not only have to understand what they read but they have to create a new sentence on their own which will continue on with what has been previously written.