Capture The Bench

The Great Outdoor Writing Activity:

Mission: Capture the Bench!

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Capture the Bench MOTIVATES and ENGAGES kids in the writing process.

It’s ACTIVE, and most of it takes place outdoors.

Capture the Bench is a team activity for 2 or more kids (on up to 10 or 12 kids).  It’s perfect for 3rd graders through 6th graders, though older and younger kids may also enjoy it. The kids can vary in age, since each will be writing at their own level, so involving siblings of different ages is fine.

Over the course of 5 days your child will be accomplishing the following writing activities:

  • character description
  • expository writing
  • creative writing
  • letter writing
  • persuasive writing
Teams are split up, so much of the time the only way team members can communicate with each other is through writing. On one day, teams use clues that their other members have written to locate certain landmarks in the neighborhood park (or front and back yard). 95797741

This writing activity is a Game-Changer!

This was my favorite summer activity during all the years I held my summer writing camp, and it was the kids’ favorite as well. Every summer I felt I had to create a new outdoor activity for the kids who were coming back again, but each summer I’d hear, “Oh, can’t we do Mission: Capture the Bench?”

It’s a great activity, and it serves its purpose well. The summer I created it I was yet again keenly aware of how poorly most students were doing in writing, and how much they really disliked it. Motivation was the key that was needed. I was trying to figure out how I could motivate them; how I could make them see how important writing was as a tool for communication.

A life/death situation kid-style was what was needed – a situation where writing was absolutely essential for survival. In kid-terms, that meant something equivalent to a game like Capture the Flag, but where in order to win, you had to write. And that’s how Mission: Capture the Bench, was born.

Make this the Season Your Child Turns Around in Writing!


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FALL 2017

IMG_060 Fall is an energizing time of year. The cool air is perfect for outdoor activities and sports. Long hikes in the woods or nearby parks are a great way to witness the leaves changing colors, especially on windy days when the leaves are falling everywhere.

LEAF HAIKU. Have your kids gather some leaves and glue 3 to the left side of a piece of paper, under each other in a column, like bullets. To the right side of each leaf, students write one line: a vivid memory or description of their walk or gathering that particular leaf. Write a line next to each leaf, thus creating a 3-line haiku. Remind students to use adjectives and feeling words. For older students, research the rythym and progression of a haiku verse.


Visit my new program, Storytellers & Writers, an after school dual language program that combines the Incite to Write strategies with storytelling.


INCITE TO WRITE teaches students how to be powerful communicators in written and spoken English. The writing program consists of four modules: - Writing Foundation: Building Paragraphs;
- Grammar & Descriptive Language;
- Narrative Writing;
- Explanatory & Opinion Writing.

Each module contains active and fun strategies designed to develop a student's critical and creative thinking skills as well as self-confidence in the writing process. Parents may also purchase Get It Right! units for individualized, one-on-one instruction with an Incite to Write tutor.

The Incite to Write Curriculum aligns with Common Core State Standards: Language Arts and addresses Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language.

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