The Lists Game

Humor is a great teaching tool. That is one of the reasons that games can be such a great way to learn something. One of my favorites is the Lists Game. It is a pass-the-paper game, along the same lines as Exquisite Corpse, but instead of making crazy stories, it makes silly lists. Because you only have to write one or two words at a time, it is a great one for very slow/early writers, especially for older children who struggle with physical writing but love a good laugh. And even though it is not a huge amount of writing, it gives children an experience of writing being a doorway into fun. Here’s how it works:

1. Each person takes a piece of paper and writes the title of a list at the top. It could be anything from “Zoo Animals” to “Groceries” to “What I’m scared of” to “Reasons I love my mom.” Then everyone passes their papers to the left.

2. The next person adds an item to the list, folds over the title, and passes the paper with just the item showing. For instance, if the list was “Groceries,” a person might write “milk.”

3. The next person would look at that item (in our case, “milk”) and try to imagine what kind of list it might be on. Maybe “Traits of mammals.” Then that person would add another thing that could be on that list. “Hair,” for example. Then they would fold over “milk” and pass it on.

4. The next person would look at “hair” and decide what list that could be on. Maybe “Things that get trimmed.” And then add “lawns.”

5. At the end, unfold the paper and read the crazy list. “Groceries: milk, hair, lawns….”

To hear more of Becca’s ideas for working with reluctant writers, come to her free talk.

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