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An Original Wacky We-Search Report housed at WritingFix
this writing across the curriculum assignment inspires summarizing, not plagiarizing

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The Wacky Calendar Writing Activity

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This Activity's Title:

The Wacky
Classroom Calendar

designing a twelve-month calendar that is dedicated to a topic of study

This wacky activity was created by Northern Nevada teacher Temoca Dixon.

This original summarizing activity was inspired by Barry Lane's awesome book, 51 Wacky We-Search Reports. Barry's fifty-one writing formats in his book teach students how to summarize (not plagiarize) facts from readings or from class notes. The book also encourages humor in the classroom, and using it will help you build a community among your student writers. If you don't own this book, but like the assignment on this page, we strongly recommend you purchase a copy.


Overview of this Wacky Writing Activity:

Students will research a topic and find interesting and important facts to help them create a wacky calendar. Student groups will create a 12-month calendar on their topic, illustrating it with pictures that support a monthly theme about their topic and a monthly holiday they create in honor of their topic. Five or ten smaller events that pertain to the topic they've researched will also be included on the calendar.

 


The Set-up:

We use calendars to keep track of appointments, special occasions, and moments in history. Today student groups will create a calendar dedicated to a topic they have researched or learned about. The 12-month calendar will contain 12 imaginary holidays created to celebrate the topic, and the calendar will contain twelve monthly themes.

Students will first research a topic and collect interesting facts to serve as the or "theme" for each month of their calendars. Student groups will create a 12-month calendar on their topic, illustrating pictures that support their monthly fact and drafting out the days of the month.

To illustrate the process of creating a month, share these facts about FDR.

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered "Fireside Chats" over the radio where he talked to the American public about important American issues.
  • FDR suffered from a paralysis that left him in a wheelchair which he did not want to public to know about.

 


The Punch:

Share these two made-up events that might become part of a calendar page on FDR.

  • An FDR-inspired wacky holiday might be “New Deal Day.”
  • An FDR-inspired theme of the month might be "Fireside Chat" month

Ask students for their input on how they'd design the calendar page that features these two events. How would they decide what day of the month will be the holiday? How will they celebrate the theme of the month? How would they illustrate the calendar? What historical dates about FDR's life might they also include on the calendar? What are four or five other events that pertain to FDR's life that might also be included on this calendar page?

Show the teacher-made sample below, or show them a teacher-made sample you have created on a different topic.

Students will publish a wacky calendar about the researched topic. Each month must have a different theme that relates to the topic. Each month must feature an original holiday about their topic. Each month will have an illustration.

If students are designing a 12-month calendar in a group, make sure they end up with 12 different themes, holidays, and illustrations. This project works nicely with groups of 3, 4, 6, or even 12.

 


A Funny Tip:

The two tips below are based on Barry Lane's "10 Tools for Humor" from his book 51 Wacky We-Search Reports.

Students facts about their research can become funny when students really dig deep for lots of facts. The most interesting facts they find can be flipped, as suggested in Tool #9 (Flip Flop), or they can become a surprising fact which is Barry's Tool #7 (“Oooh” Facts).

 


A Teacher-Made Sample:


Click on the image to see it even larger.


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