A few weeks ago, Michelle from Eagle Eye Academy introduced The Writing Menu. It looked interesting, promising, so I ordered my copy from Amazon, and once I received it, spent a bit of time reading it over and planning. I was finally ready this past week to implement my plans. It went really well!
The whole premise of the strategy is to present your students with a menu of choices for writing assignments. The assignments fall into 3 classifications: Appetizers, which are simple exercises that require the student to write one or two sentences or to make a list. Main Meals is the meat of the program (pun intended) and requires the most writing. Dessert is the "fun" kinesthetic activity that is more artistic than the other activities.
This was our Writing Menu this week:
Appetizers (minimum of 2 choices)
Nachos – Copy Psalm 121 in your neatest handwriting. (2 pts.)
Hot Wings – Make a timeline using the following events: Jamestown, French and Indian War, Christopher Columbus, Plymouth, Roanoke. Make sure the events are in order. List the correct date for each event on your timeline. (2 pts.)
Eggrolls – List 5 elements from the Periodic Table. List one fact for each element. (2 pts.)
Shrimp Cocktail – Write a sentence about a specific way we use math to help us at home. Be sure to include who, what, when, where, why, and how. (2 pts. per sentence)
Main Course (minimum of 1 choice)
Fried Chicken – Pretend you rode on the Mayflower on its first passage to the New World. Create a diary/journal by writing 10 entries from 10 different days on the ship. Give your reader an idea of daily activities you are doing, how you are feeling both physically and emotionally. What is going on around you? (20 pts.)
Filet Mignon – Write a story about how you think one of the 50 states earned its nickname. (15 pts.)
Pizza – You are a chemist, and you have just discovered a new element. What would you name it? (Remember, many element names are made up of a person’s name with “-ium” added to the end.) Where is it found? How common is it? Is it dangerous to handle? What can it be used for? (10 pts.)
Spaghetti – Pretend you were present at the first Thanksgiving. Write a story about that day. How did you feel seeing all the Indians? What did you do that day? What was there to eat? (15 pts.)
Dessert (minimum of 1 choice)
Triple Chocolate Cake – Using a shoebox, create a diorama of a colonial house. (10 pts.)
Apple Pie – You are a colonist in the New World. Write a message on a note that you will put in a bottle. You hope that someone back home will see it, and you wish to share with them how you feel about life in the New World. (5 pts.)
Banana Split – Create a brochure about 1 of the 50 states. (10 pts.)
Chocolate Chip Cookies – Draw a picture of a president. Write 3 facts below your picture…clues to see if everyone else can guess who it is. (5 pts.)
You'll notice there are point values assigned to each item on the menu. What you do with the points is up to you. The points can determine a percentage/letter grade; they can buy things at a school store; or in our case, they can add up to some cold, hard cash. Before you get all judgmental, I don't always
So anyway, as you can see, the kids are required to select 1 or 2 options from each category. Any number of points they earn under this requirement will result in no spending money for Disney. Above what is required earns them the cash: more/extra points = more money.
They've worked really hard this week on this project, and I'm really proud of them. Even Audrey, who has a revised menu to suit her age and abilities, has gotten very into it and has put her all into her projects.
The only downside of this program is the work and effort it takes to come up with the assignments. There are many suggestions throughout the book, but I like to make sure they are geared towards my kids and our studies.
If you are interested in a way for your student(s) to share his/her/their writing, please see this post.
For the past couple of months, Alex has been attending a homeschool drama group. They studied various literary works, and last night put on their performance. The performance included scenes from 3 different well-known works: The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The theater company is a new group, so costumes were simple and mainly just made up of whatever could be rustled up at home.
The capri jeans weren't really a part of Alex's Dorothy costume, but there wasn't any time for her to change from her Dorothy costume into her Peter Pan pirate costume in between scenes.
Alex did great with a ton of lines as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, was a lot of fun as a pirate, and she finished up playing the role of a wolf in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
We were very proud of how well she kept her composure in all of her scenes.