Get your kiddos to take a leap!
Literally, for some students, this next idea will be just like taking a giant leap, from their comfort zone of “I really don’t like to write, but I can stick to what I know and just turn in what I have to”, to this:
Teacher: “Okay, guys, I see you’ve found the slip of paper on your table/desk. That’s your Entrance Slip, and it’s going to tell me what I need to get to you (library fact books, checked out ahead of time; online website urls, etc.) to research quickly at your Team Tables (or with a small group). On that slip is the beginning of a sentence, written supposedly by an ocean animal of one type or another (we’re supposing he/she is animated, can talk, show feelings, etc.). Your assignment right now is to fill in the remaining portion of the sentence and hand it to your Team’s Captain, who’ll get it to me quickly; I’ll bring over the info you’ll need to get facts about your animal. You are going to become that ocean animal and tell us through writing what’s going on down there, what’s bugging you, or maybe how wonderful things are, who knows? The purpose? To learn more about ocean life and how it is sustained and to learn more about ourselves as writers!
(Example of a couple Entrance Slips beginnings:
My name is Taz, Taz the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, and I was showing off some of my coolest moves when I heard this loud explosion sound that_____________________________________________________________________________________.
My name is Diamond, Diamond the Dolphin! I love to show everyone how far I can jump out of the water, except if_________________________________________________________.
*Of course the teacher or coach could do this with whatever curriculum area and subject is currently being studied.