I started out with the first class containing a Powerpoint presentation on basic grammar and sentence structure.
I saw doodling, yawning, eye rolls, gum bubbles, texting...
It was awful!
Immediately I started rethinking my teaching method.
The next class we did more in-class writing and reading.
It was better, but still a grind.
This last class, I think I finally got it.
First we wrote a paragraph while sitting in my living room.
What is the day like?
Then, I marched them outside, moved around the yard, sat in the warmth of the sun on the soft carpet of my front lawn. Then we rewrote the paragraph. Talking about sensory words. Noticing the variety of birds overhead, the depth of the amazing color of blue in the sky, the thousand colors of green in the grass, the nonstop sound of insects, the smell of the grass, leaves falling from the trees onto our toes, the feel of the breeze that moved the tree leaves...
The paragraphs that came from that exercise were top notch!
And I learned a thing or two too.
Keep it simple. Keep it interesting. And keep it real.