With younger children, this concrete activity called “Rubber Band Stretching” works well. Demonstrate how a rubber band starts out small and can be stretched much larger. Read a simple sentence out loud, and ask for suggestions about how to expand it. After a student successfully stretches a sentence by adding new words, hand her a rubber band ball. When a second student stretches the sentence further, the first student passes the ball to the second. The game continues until it is impossible to stretch the sentence anymore! Students then apply the lesson to a piece of their own writing.
With older students, the rubber band can be used to discuss sentence length in more complexity. Bring in a strong piece of writing that includes short, medium, and long sentences. Discuss the various effects. If you have a geo board, you can actually record or map out the sentences using rubber bands. Show how the rhythm of a piece changes depending on sentence lengths.
As a spinoff activity, ask students to map out sentence lengths in advance. Then, try to write a paragraph that fits, and notice how the paragraph sounds. For older students, it is empowering to see how they can control the rhythm of their piece just through sentence length.
-Marcia Chamberlain, WITS Houston
Photo by Yvonne Feece
WITS is looking for 10-12 writers who can teach the joy of creative writing to young people. Employment is part-time, typically 2-6 hours of teaching one day a week from September – May. A yearlong commitment is required; however, writers who are selected to be on the WITS roster are not guaranteed immediate teaching opportunities.
The pay is $55 per teaching hour. In addition to teaching, the job duties include preparing lessons, responding to student work, and compiling anthologies of student writing at the end of the school year.
We are looking for writers and educators with teaching or mentoring experience who can convey their passion for the written word in ways that are relevant for Houston-area children. In particular, we are seeking bilingual writers, but others are encouraged to apply as well.
Visit our website for the full job description.
If you are interested in teaching with WITS, please submit a cover letter, résumé, and 10-page writing sample to [email protected] or mail to:
Jack McBride, Program Director
1523 West Main
Houston, TX 77006
To be considered for the 2011-2012 school year, applications must be received by August 5, 2011. Applicants who are selected to teach with WITS must attend mandatory WITS orientation and training on Friday, August 26, and Saturday, August 27, 2011.
Please feel free to e-mail or call 713-523-3877 with any questions.