Monday, November 24, 2014

Max Tell / Writing Prompt / I Wish I Were

PROMPT: I wish I were . . . swing on a swing, rollerblading, skateboarding, kiting, or anything you choose.

TEACHER: What would you like to be doing right now? Would you like to be swinging on a swing, rollerblading, or skateboarding? Or maybe you have something completely different in mind. Let's have fun with our imagination.


1) Set an alarm for 10 minute (5-6 for younger students).
2) Invite your class to write for the entire 10 minutes, focusing their writing on the senses and actions related to the prompt and the 'wish choice'. Pre-work on the senses and actions may be necessary. As mentioned above, for younger children set the timer for 5-6 minutes.
Encourage them to reach for the unique, fresh, and new. There is no need for them to stick to the prompt.  If their mind wanders, encourage them to write down what ever comes into their heads, even if off topic.
3) Everyone stops writing when the designated time is up.
4) Invite your class to highlight their best writing and to turn their notes into a story, song, or poem. 
5) If they only find one image that strikes them the right way, encourage them to use that one image as a starting point to create their story, song or poem. 
If they decide to write a poem or a song, there is no need to write in rhyme unless it comes naturally, even writing in phrases is fine. What ever comes to them. Also, a poem does not have to rhyme.
6) Encourage your students to edit.
7) Share your class's writing on a display board, in a book, in a powerpoint display with pictures or even in class readings.


Some children may have difficulty coming up with ideas or even getting them down on paper. A couple of TAs or parents may be invited to help by writing for the students or prompting them with questions:

  • What would you like to be or do? Something special.
  • Do you have a favourite pet at home, a favourite stuffy, or a favourite toy?
  • A kitty-cat? Great.
  • Would you like to be a kitty-cat?
  • What does your kitty-cat smell like? (Encourage the child to be inventive.)
  • What does it look like?
  • What does it sound like when it purrs or meows?
  • When you cuddle, what does it feel like?
  • Does your kitty-cat laugh or cry?
  • What would you think if your kitty-cat mooed like a cow or barked like a dog?
  • What if your kitty-cat could fly? If it could, where do you think it would fly to?
  • Or maybe your kitty-cat would like to go canoeing or take a rocket into space. 

NOTE TO HELPERS: Be as inventive as you can be to help the imagination of the child you are inspiring to write. Nothing is silly or wrong. But sometimes what they write might make you laugh, but that is a good thing.

Below, you will find my 10 minute notes and final draft. The image that inspired my poem is at the top of the page. As you can see, I chose a picture of a toddler and created a short nursery rhyme.

I wish I were a swing. I’d go so high into the sky, I’d fly right up to the moon and balance there on one foot. My heart would dance like a bowl full of jelly beans being shaken in a blender. Up and down, up and down, butterflies would fly right out of my ears. What a ride. Flying tastes like the sweetest thing, like candy floss and chocolate chip cookies. Flying sounds like a jet plane in your bedroom. Flying feels like tingles on the tip of every goose-bump. Flying is just like lifting off the ground with everything happening like magic, like clouds flying by, birds try to catch up. Would an eagle perch on my toes or even my nose. Ouch!. What would it feel like with the wind in my hair? Would my face go all wobbly like in the movies on a space ship? Would I feel cold like on the north pole or would I burn up, no that’s only when I come back through the atmosphere. Something about my hair, flying everywhere around my face. I would have to ware googles to keep my eyes from popping out. What a flight in the height of pleasure. And when I come back down could I land right back in that swing and if I did what would that be like? would I slow down and ease in like a helicopter, or would I come in like a jet plane landing on a big ship, to be caught on a hook, make contact, arch right back up to the top of the swing and almost take flight again? I would have to hold on for dear life, my heart pounding like a bouncy ball shot from a cannon in a small room bouncing off the walls. What an adventure. My knees would feel like rubber getting of the swing.


On a swing, you know the deal,
it has a certain high appeal,
to swing much higher than before,
now, let go and sore galore,
not to the ground, but up and up,
the winner of the soaring cup,
passing eagles all the way,
even making mountains sway,
reaching speeds, streaking fast.
Call me first, never last,
my face a wiggle-waggle smile,
clouds sucked behind in single file,
not one of them can keep the pace,
I’m the one to win the race,
the moon my target by the book,
I'll balanced there on single foot.

© Robert ‘Max Tell’ Stelmach

Today's prompt was inspired by "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney.

The concept was inspired by Pat Pattison and W.O Mitchell.

Each week, Max Tell features a few inspirational articles about poetry writing for kids
as well as his own blog posts.

To read a few of Max's poems, check out The Land of Graws.


Next topic: Prompt
Life is oh, so boring!

What poetry question would you like answered? Point of View? Rhyme? Something of your choice? Student questions are also welcome. Your comments below would be greatly appreciated.

Bye for now and see you soon.

Have a great writing day.

Love writing, but love editing more.

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