Getting a day off from school can be fun! But when class abruptly ends for months and everyone is stuck in isolation, things suddenly don’t seem that way. Recently I got together two of the smartest young women I know to chat on this subject. Ellie and Makenzie have both been in my life for many years, and have grown tremendously in front of my eyes. Their charisma and strength move me, and everyone we know, deeply. I very much consider them to be wonderful daughters to friends and solid role models for their peers.
Knowing this, I let these two girls both brainstorm AND display their writing talents for all to see. In our interview, we go over the importance of writing and reading. Then, after we give examples of how to beat boredom, we set out to create a fun writing prompt for anyone to try!
To all my followers with young adults in their lives who understand the importance of reading and the written word: What are some ways that you and your own family can incorporate literature, advance literacy and have fun during this time of uncertainty? Do some brainstorming to see if your ideas match up with ours below!
What grade are you currently in? What has been your favorite subject this year?
Makenzie: I’m currently in seventh grade. My favorite subject is ELA (English Language Acquisition).
Ellie: I’m in seventh grade and my favorite subject is social studies.
How have you been handling the stay-at-home order that keeps you from school? What have you been doing to pass the time?
Makenzie: I’ve been pretty bored, but to pass the time I’ve been reading my books.
Ellie: I haven’t really been too bored. I’ve been reading, watching movies and shows.
Reading, writing and art are important parts of schoolwork. How have you been keeping up with those subjects while you’ve been home?
Makenzie: I made a quilt blanket for a mother-to-be that I know. I also read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
Ellie: I’ve been reading, watching movies and drawing a lot.
What do you think might be some fun ways children your age can integrate those art forms while being stuck at home?
Makenzie: A fun way children our age could keep occupied could be having a book recommendation each week, and making that into a book club.
Ellie: Some fun ways to occupy yourself could be to watch new TV and movies, go outside and get some fresh air and draw.
If you had to make any recommendations: What is your favorite book? What is your favorite movie?
Makenzie: My favorite book at the moment is Joyride by Anna Banks. My favorite movie is The Princess Diary.
Ellie: My favorite book is The Cellar by Natasha Preston. My favorite movie is The Goldfinch.
Who or what is most inspiring to you? What makes that person or thing inspiring?
Makenzie: I am inspired by my family members: my aunt because she doesn’t give up, my mom because she is always there and my grandparents because they see me for me.
Ellie: My dad is the most inspiring person to me because he raised me by himself. He is a really good dad even when things can be difficult.
In what way would YOU like to be inspiring to others? Ask your friends and family. What do they say inspires and impresses them the most about you?
Makenzie: One of my best friends Mylee told me “you inspire me to always try my best and stay positive.” My other friend Addy said “you’re such a strong person in any situation. You always keep a smile on for others which is great!”
Ellie: I want to be inspiring by continuing to be a good friend. My friends and family say I’m caring, nice and funny.
If you could write creatively for an hour OR work on an essay, which would you rather do? Why?
Makenzie: I would rather work on an essay because I need something like a big writing prompt to follow the guidelines of.
Ellie: I would rather write creatively because then I don’t have to write about just one thing. Creative writing lets me express myself and write about whatever I want.
Why do you think writing is an important life skill?
Makenzie: I think writing is a big life skill because you will need it throughout your entire life, from bills to assignments to signing doctor forms.
Ellie: Writing is important because you need it for your job, school and lots of other things.
If you could go back to any time in history right now, when and where would you go? Or rather, if you could live anywhere else currently in the world, where would you want to be? What is it about that time and place that is most appealing to you?
Makenzie: I would want to live in an Amish community because I just think it’s so cool how they can live. I like how they make everything from scratch.
Ellie: I would go back to Ancient Rome or Ancient Egypt. It’s interesting the way they lived and how advanced they were for their time.
Writing Prompt Activity:
Play a trivia game or visit Today I Learned on Reddit to discover a culture other than yours. Be creative in your exploration! Using what you find, either invent a new life for yourself or research more on that topic. You can even just write about what’s going on in reality. We all need to vent from time to time. Possibilities for writing are endless, and always remember:
“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way” -Ray Bradbury
Using Ellie and Mak’s preferences for writing style and subject material, I had the girls send me some of their work to share. I hope you find it helpful as you devise writing activities of your own!
Ellie’s creative short story:
My character’s name is Adom. He is a 13-year-old boy living in Ancient Egypt. He lives in one of the more wealthy parts of the city because of how big his house is. It has 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a pool out front. He has a mom, dad and a younger sister. His sister’s name is Ain and they get along quite well. His dad works for the king and his mom stays at home. Adom goes to school with all the other boys in his town. After school is over, he likes to play ball in the street with his friends. What he likes the most about his friend group is how close they are, and how they’ll help if someone is hurt or in trouble. After playing with them, he usually goes home where his dad tells him to wash up for dinner. Tonight they are having Egyptian Macaroni Béchamel, which is like a macaroni casserole. This is by far Adom’s favorite food.
Makenzie’s short essay:
Have you ever wondered what the Amish people believe in? The Amish believe in one God. Their faith keeps them working hard and keeping discipline to a limit. The Amish people adopted their “lifestyle” in the late 1600s. It did not become an actual “lifestyle” until 1693. The Amish communities sprung up in Switzerland, Alsace, Germany, Russia and Holland. Many Amish people live like that by choice in accordance with how they view the Bible. The Amish choose to do and not to do certain things.