Programming Ideas

The Write Stuff

For the past few days I have been attending Winter Wheat, a writer’s workshop at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. One of the sessions today had an activity that I thought could translate well to programming for school-age children.

Ed Buchanan, a graduate student with the University of Akron, shared a writing exercise in which we were to take the first line “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water” and in seven minutes or less, write, what he called, “the missing middle” that leads to “Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.”

Here is what I wrote in the allotted time:

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. But there was no pail.
“I thought you brought a pail,” said Jill.
“No. I handed it to you.”
“No, you didn’t.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure or I would be carrying it, wouldn’t I?”
“O.K. Now what? Mom’s going to be mad if we don’t have the water.”
“If we walk back down it will take forever.”
“Yes, but we need to get it. I’ll race you. Go!”
Jack ran as fast as he could.
“Wait for me!” yelled Jill, but Jack had a head start. She was gaining on him when Jack fell down and broke his crown. And, Jill came tumbling after.

Following the exercise, I immediately thought of you, dear readers. Would this type of exercise, creating “missing middles” of nursery rhymes, work in your programming plans? Please share your thoughts and ideas about writing with children in the library.

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