Today my 6th grade co-teachers and I held a Boring Words Funeral for the overused, boring, ‘2nd/3rd grade’ words in our vocabulary. This was a very somber event. Students and teachers wore black. We brainstormed a list of words that we would bury and no longer use for the remainder of the year. We wrote these words on note cards, placed them in burial shoe box, then lined up outside the door.
Two students were designated as the casket bearers. One student was the line-ender for the procession. We lined up in twos and held a burial procession from the hall into and around the classroom. We walked slowly, calmly, and with serious faces. After taking a lap around the room, we stood by the burial closet and said our final goodbyes. There were some cries out in agony and some tears as well. Then we ‘buried’ our words and closed the closet door, never to see, hear or use those words again.
And after, had a snack of cookies and juice in rememberance. 😛
To set up for the Boring Words Funeral, I created two tombstones for the closet doors. I wrote ‘RIP’ and ‘Here Lies Boring Words’ on them, then decorated them with little hanging skulls and fake cobwebs.
Later, I took the words from their burial box and added them to the closet, to make a visual of the words students were to no longer use in their writing.
The point of this activity was to engage students in a fun way with writing. We wanted them to think deeply about not only about word choice, but also the revision process. Getting rid of boring or overused words was a simple way to make writing stronger, more vivid, and clearer to both the writer and the reader.
I think the kids had fun with this short activity. I had fun creating the tombstones! And it was a great way for me to be involved with classroom prep and decoration!
Now this closet, visible to the entire classroom, will serve as a visual reminder of ways to improve writing–plus it plays into the Halloween holiday, too!