Chronicling – the fun way to teach writing skills

by Kathena A Posted on July 14, 2010

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Chronicling is the ticket for keeping your child interested the writing process throughout the summer. Most children need opportunities to practice the writing skills they have been learning at school, and keeping a chronicle of special outings is an enjoyable way to get your child to write during the summer months.

Let’s Get Started!

The next time your family heads for the beach or any other wide open territory, arm your child with a camera. Allowing your young ones to photograph the events of the day gives them the incentive needed to also chronicle the event once the photos are developed.

Once you have the photos in hand you are ready to begin the chronicling part of the project. Your child will create the chronicle by pasting his or her favorite pictures onto a blank piece of paper (or a blank page in a journal), and accompanying them with words about the event. You can think of the chronicle as a sort of newspaper page.

Here are some ideas for the writing portion of your child’s chronicle:

1.  The Heading: select a title or “heading” for your chronicled event

2.  Captions: write a caption under each of the photos that have been selected for your chronicle.

3.  Quotes and Sidebars: collect some quotes from the event participants by asking them to respond to the photos or share their opinions about the events of that day. These quotes can be presented as a “Sidebar” along the edge of the paper. A sidebar is any information that is related to the body of the work.

4.  Body: the body of the chronicled work will include some sort of a description of the event along with the details about when and where it took place as well as who was involved. “Highlights” are the main details about the day and will be included here as well. The writer can close the piece with his or her “personal response” to the events of the day. Sharing their feelings about the outing is a nice way to bring their work to a close.

5.  Timetables, maps, drawings, poems and word boxes with lists of words that best describe the day are additional graphic skills that can be added to the chronicle.

And so, there you have it, parents. Not only are you teaching your children the skills needed for writing any good report in the future but you are also instructing them on the terminology and know-how for the meaningful use of any textbook. Don’t be afraid to make chronicling a family project or to allow your child to do it his or her way. The ideas I have laid out here are just suggestions.

Some children like to chronicle just one aspect of a trip. I saw a delightful book made by a child who chose to chronicle the plant life in Oregon. The important thing to keep in mind is that chronicling is done for fun. It can take any form you like and that is what makes it such a perfect vehicle for continuing the writing process throughout the summer months. Have fun and enjoy your summer and the happy memories to follow.

Images by pixelperfect

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  1. AnnAbbott Says:

    My son loves to do this. He will write poems, make check lists or draws a pictures and lables it. My daughter loves to take pictures and make a Shutterfly photo book with captions. Keeps their minds going all summer long.

  2. Joey Says:

    I really like this idea and would be a fun project for nieces and nephews. I did a book with my nephew last summer. I love clouds and one day out on the boat he said to me, hey JoJo, these clouds would make a great picture book. So he would point at the clouds for me to take photos of and was naming them, i didn’t have a pen or paper with me then. So when I got home, i uploaded the photos and we worked on the book together and he would name what the clouds looked like. It was a fun project. He thought the book would magically appear out of my printer. Kids are funny and he thought it was neat when I did get the actual book.

  3. Tiffany M Says:

    This is awesome! My lil guy is still a bit too young but I will definately file this info away for when he’s bigger.

    PS… the photos in this post are outstanding!

more about Kathena A

I grew up in the Bay Area where I soaked up all of the advantages that places like Berkeley, San Francisco and Marin could offer. During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s I taught grammar school here in California. Over the years I managed to teach all the grade levels and thus I have gained an arsenal of art projects and writing tips, which I would like to share with you. I work as an artist and metal smith now but my former students often visit me and, as you may imagine, some of them now have young children of their own. We often reminisce about a favorite art project that we did at school together. In some cases the original project has been preserved. I recently visited with a former student of mine who is now a college professor in the field of nanotechnology. I was amazed to see an art project that he had done in third grade on display in his parents’ home. Together, we admired his work all over again. With the arrival of Shutterfly’s photo storage capabilities parents can now photograph and preserve those memories and store them online. In addition, they can easily create beautiful memory books as future keepsakes for their children. With this in mind, it is my hope that together, you and I will create some new projects and family memories for your child’s scrapbook.

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