Is it possible to turn the whole classroom of second graders, including children who don’t like to write, into motivated, engaged, and enthusiastic graders? Yes, it is possible and realistic.
This week, I couldn’t come to the second grade on Wednesday, which is our regular time, and had to come on Thursday. On Wednesday, when children anticipated our visit, they kept asking the teacher when Carmel and I are coming because they wanted to keep writing. Isn’t it amazing the children mentioned writing on their own in connection to our visit?
When I came in on Thursday, as usually, I walked with Carmel around the classroom to give the children a chance to pet Carmel. Then, I started the activity by refreshing children’s memory on what they accomplished so far, such as their cover page, dedication, and introduction.
The next step was to start writing regular autobiography chapters. I started by reading the first chapter of my book, “From Unruly to Therapy Dog,” and discussed with children the importance of titling that first chapter. I then talked to children about their books, asking them about what their first chapter would be about and how they would like to title it. In the meantime, the teacher wrote the first chapter title and chapter example on the smartboard. I then asked a couple of children about their title ideas and chapter content ideas. One of the students, who decided to write his autobiography about the development of his love for Minecraft, titled his chapter “How it all started.” He then told me about how he found out about the game and how old he was. Another student decided to write about her love for planting flowers, while others kept their autobiographies as more general, about themselves and their families.
After this introduction to the activity, both the teacher and I walked around the classroom helping individual children come up with their chapter titles and content. The most amazing thing happened when we started hearing from children how many chapters they were writing. Some children were on their fifth chapter. They were also all extremely exited and engaged. The excitement was literally in the air.
If you would like to hear more about how to inspire children to write, please get the Carmel’s Therapy Dog App. In this app, children will be able to interact with Carmel and write and illustrate stories. Just like the power of the connection between Carmel and children results in amazing writing motivation in the classroom, we will strive to provide a similar experience in the app.