Madrasati >> Writing
Mini-Book Project for beginners
By Mubarak Abdessalami
To engage the students in writing very early, it is not always practical to start with discrete sentences. I have thought of this project assigned to beginners to help them get acquainted with writing before they have to write articles and essays. The idea is based on a simple principle. It is to challenge learners to write through big projects like book-writing. I make them believe they can be authors. It sounds great. They like that because those sever obstacles mentioned above are to be overlooked momentarily. We are busy authoring. To write as a student is different from writing as a professional. When the learners start writing their own books, they are not going to care much about the writing criteria. They just disregard them so as not to impede them take the first steps safely. No criticism at the beginning but only praise and encouragement through guiding them by saying, "It's good, but to make it better you need...."
The idea in the start stemmed from the funniest of all the awkward classroom situations. When I ask the students to take only a double sheet of paper to do the writing, they begin to whine and complain, but when I ask them to start writing something personal like a poem or a joke, they rush without delay to their papers and pens and bend over. A book or at least a mini-book about themselves seems the best way to introduce them to professional writing and engage them into going something valuable. They willingly and even happily get eager to buy a copybook and start launching the project. The plan is as simple as a pie and it looks something like this.
The students are prompted to buy a copybook of no more than 24 pages and be shown the design of the book they intend to write from the cover to the index. The cover will look like this:
The book will be divided into chapters. Every chapter deals with a specific topic. Low effcient students are assisted through directing questions which will help them stick to the chapter theme and find their paths throughout easily.
CHAPTER 1 [Specific Personal Information]
- What's your name?
- How old are you?
- When were you born?
- What are you?
- What nationality are you?
- Where are you from?
- Where do you live?
- What's your favourite school subject?
- What's your favourite sport?
- What's your hobby?
CHAPTER 2 [General Personal Information]
- How many brothers and sisters have you got?
- What are your parents? (Professions]
- What is your house / flat like? (Large, small)
- How many rooms are there in your house / flat?
- What is your bedroom like?
- What's your favourite dish? [Talk about it in details later on CHAPTER 6 ]
- Have you got a pet?
CHAPTER 3 [Daily Routines]
- What time do you wake up in the morning?
- What do you do after you get up?
- Talk about a normal school day.
- What time do you go to bed?
CHAPTER 4 [Free time activities]
- On Sundays you don't go to school.
- Write about your activities during that day?
- Talk about your likes and dislikes
- What's your favourite food?
- Give three reasons why you like it.
- Describe someone you love (father, mother, brother, sister etc)
- What does he look like? (physical description)
- Tall, short, medium etc
- Face (round, oval etc)
- eyes (small, big, blue, brown etc)
- clothes (baggy, tight, smart, shabby, elegant etc)
- What is s/he like? (Character)
- Generous, mean, intelligent, honest, serious, funny etc
- What would you like to be in the future?
- Which career / profession and why?
- Give your opinion about an issue of common interest.
This project is open for more writing topics. Later on the students may even turn the mini-book into a biography in the form of diary. They can write about whatever ideas they have in mind. Now that writing has become a habit, it's almost impossible to stop the process. I hope this project can trigger more ideas.
"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go".
E. L. Doctorow
Google Writing Group