Month: June 2016

Let’s Go Camping! This Week's COW Writing Challenge

Camping Gear (1)

This week’s COW Writing Challenge is based upon this visual prompt and the written prompt, “I knew this camping trip would be a disaster when…”

Ah, yes. It’s that time of year when civilized people abandon their civilized ways and head out into the Great Outdoors to battle the elements. 

Camping adventures are a great source of material for writing. Think of the potential for disaster– sudden storms, bugs, wild animal encounters, bugs, cooking disasters, bugs, forgotten supplies, bugs and the list goes on.

This writing challenge can be fact or fiction– students can write a camping story in which everything goes horribly wrong. If they’ve done some camping, draw upon some of their own experiences, then use their imaginations to stretch and reshape them. Of course, they may want to find a silver lining in amongst those dark clouds of misfortune!

Pet Day Chaos! This Week's COW Writing Challenge

Nothing holds more promise for classroom chaos than Bring Your Pet to School Day, or Pet Day.  In this week’s COW Writing Challenge, students are to imagine the most chaotic Pet Day ever in the history of Pet Days.

Have them consider some of the following questions that would make an already chaotic day even more wild:

1.  What strange pets could be brought that day?  A camel?  A penguin?  A snake?  Did someone borrow an animal from the zoo or a circus for the day?

2.  What interactions between the pets lead to further mayhem?  Do dogs meet cats?

3.  How does the ‘Pet Day’ in this class spill over to the rest of the school?  Or is Pet Day a school wide phenomenon?  Do some pets escape?  Do some of them find their way into the duct work of the school’s air conditioning and heating system?  Do some hide in lockers?  Do some of them interrupt other classes?  Do some of them find their way onto school buses?

4.  What heroic deed or brilliant idea could bring all of this catastrophic confusion to an end?

We hope some brilliant writing comes out of this challenge, and will raise some concerns about having a real-life pet day in your class!

Make Up Your Own Holiday This Week's COW Writing Challenge

Are there enough holidays during the year?  In British Columbia, the government decided to create a new holiday in February to give residents a long weekend in the middle of the winter.  They decided upon Family Day.

There are dozens of special days during the year, although most of them are not official holidays.  For example,

June 13th is Sewing Machine Day

June 17th is Eat Your Vegetables Day

June 18th is Go Fishing Day

In this COW Writing Challenge, students are to invent their own unofficial holiday.  A number of things they should consider include:

1.  The date of the holiday.

2.  The official name of the holiday.

3.  Traditions associated with the holiday.  What special things do people do to celebrate this day?  (For example, people wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, hide chocolate eggs on Easter, etc.)

4.  History of the holiday.  (What is the history behind why this day is special.  For example, Valentine’s Day has a long history dating back to the Romans.)

We hope you enjoy this writing challenge and celebrate,  Have Fun Writing Week!



What a Catch! This Week's COW Writing Challenge

gone_fishing (1)

All fishing stories are true, right?

Okay, so fishing stories do have a reputation for being prone to exaggeration. With this visual prompt, here is your students’ chance to let their imaginations run wild, creating the most outrageous fishing story ever told. Before they start writing, here are a few things they can think about to get their imaginations going:

  1. What might be lurking under the water?
  2. What kind of special bait are these men using?
  3. What happens when they cast their lines?
  4. What do they hook?
  5. What happened when they fought the fish (or whatever it was) on the end of their line?
  6. What happened when they landed their catch in the boat?

Have fun writing a fishy tale!

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