Overview: This playful activity invites students to experiment with style by creatively editing an existing draft.
Author: Kiersten Jakobsen
Activity name: “So much depends upon a red wheel barrow”
Class: PWR 1/PWR 2
Activity brief description: In this activity, PWR writers bend their existing prose into stanzas and short stories. Should they find themselves in need of additional words, punctuation, etc., they must make requests from “style trove.” [Instructors looking to introduce a game/competition element to this activity might start each PWR writer at $100 (or 100 Academy Awards, Carbon Offsets, Pulitzer Prizes, etc.). Every request/exchange from the “style trove” will result in addition to or subtraction from individual balance.]
Schedule: Try this activity at any point in the quarter, but change it up and try it at the beginning too, since style often comes last.
Activity length: 90 min.
Activity goals: The main goal is awareness of the promise of one’s existing writing style. Rather than instruct students to imitate foreign sounds and rhythms, why not suggest they explore potential in their own style and prose?
See attached handout
This activity was originally published as an Activity of the Week in fall 2014.