It became clear to a fifth grade teacher that the writing process is similar to other creative activities, so in his class kids learn writing process through sculpture.
Writing is essential, and in Edwardsville District 7 students learn about three types of writing: narrative, opinion, and informative. In Matthew Aken’s class, students at Albert Cassens Elementary learned about the similarities in the writing process to being a sculptor. He had them work the process literally hands on, with Play Doh.
Fifth graders write in all subjects about many topics across the curriculum. “They also are required to use evidence from the text as they write, which I stress in my classroom on a daily basis,” Aken said. “Although we’ve done a lot of writing so far this year, we haven’t done an official piece where the kids have to go through the entire writing process,” Aken noted. “We are gearing up to begin our first official opinion piece next week based on an article in Scholastic News.”
Aken had students use the Play-Doh to make a pencil holder. “Each step of the writing process is mirrored in the steps taken to sculpt the pencil holder,” he explained.
Students molded the Play-Doh into shapes and brainstormed just as they would as writers in the pre-writing process. As they had a shape that worked, the teacher told them to smash it and start over – just as a writer would with rewriting and developing a written story or essay.
Aken explained to the students how each step related to similar steps in writing. Sculpting has an early state, pre-sculpting which is like pre-writing and brainstorming. Sculpting also goes through revisions just like writing, and the final result is a display of a sculpture which is similar to publishing of a written piece.