Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monster in a Jar Writing

I love doing the Monster in a Jar Writing Activity each October.  I found this idea several years ago online, source unknown.  I first introduce my students to the activity by talking about what if they found an interesting creature, or monster, and what would they do if they caught it.  Then we talk about what their monster may look like.  I put their ideas on the board.  After a good discussion, I give them their own copy of a big empty jar.  They create their own monster in a jar and give it a name.

The next day we begin writing our story about our Monster in a Jar into a 5 paragraph form.  I teach my students how to write 5 paragraphs using my school system's Writing Rubric.  There are 10 standards they must master and among those they have to use at least three WOW words, which I tell my students to use different, big, descriptive words.  They also have to use at least one MOPSI word, which I begin with teaching my students to use at least one simile and one onomatopoeia.  The paper as a whole may take several days to complete.  I explain how to write each paragraph as we go along.  When the students finish, they have a really cute project and writing activity complete!  So much fun!!

My 5 paragraph format:

Introductory Paragraph:  What is your paper about?

1st Detail paragraph:  Describe what the monster looks like (color, head, face, eyes, nose mouth, arms, feet, body, etc.).

2nd Detail paragraph:  Describe how you caught the monster (where did you find it, is it easy or hard to catch, did you need tools to catch it, did it try to get away, etc.).

3rd Detail paragraph:  Explain what you are going to do with your monster (does it have a name, is it nice or mean, does it make sounds/talk, what do others think about it).

Concluding Paragraph:  Give an overall view of your monster and tell if you think you will keep it forever.

Here are examples of my students' work:

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