Summer days are melting away as school bells prepare to chime. Three months of festivities have quickly vanished, but more fun and learning are about to unfold. A favorite back-to-school topic for writing is "What I Did This Summer". I admit, with chagrin, that I often assigned this odious task to my eighth graders. I wanted to learn more about them and vacation tales helped develop a picture of student interests, experiences, and of course, writing skills.
The problem is that the subject is enormous. Just think: three months, 90 days, 24 hours per day… That adds up to a whole lot of adventures. My students generally reacted to this assignment in one of two ways. The less than eager writers said, "I didn’t do anything", as if that excuse would release them from responsibility; the second group, having done hundreds of things over the summer proceeded to list every single one. "My Trip to Disneyland" became: we got up, ate breakfast, packed our suitcases, climbed in the car, bought gas, drove to Reno. I am sure you have the idea. There were no details, nothing to reveal the excitement and/or family trip agony of this event. Instead I read an inventory of every single dull moment of the excursion right up to Splash Mountain followed by the return home. Splash Mountain – I love this Disney ride. I enjoy reliving the breath-sucking thrill of shooting off the waterfalls and crashing into the shimmering pond below.
Your child may have used brainstorms in the past where ideas were dashed and dotted everywhere around the page and when time came to actually write the essay, frustration rampaged as she searched for organization in the jumbled mess. Now she can simply follow her notes to compose a well-formatted, easy to read story. For more information on the UNiversal Organizer check out Let me know how the UNO and Zoom Lens tools work for you.