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Writing: Sentences & Paragraphs

Round Robin: Writing as a Team


Today's Snack: Something round will go with today's activity. Toast a split whole-wheat bagel and spread cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or whatever your favorite bagel topping is. Enjoy a glass of chocolate milk to go with.




2 or more students divided into teams,

ideally with an equal number, 3-5 students, in each


Print out the prompts, below,

and paste one prompt at the top of a piece of lined paper

for each team


Scissors | Scotch tape


For example, if you are going to have three teams of five students,

then you will need to print out three copies of the prompts

so that each team can start with a copy of each prompt


Pencil for each student


Stopwatch or watch with second-hand



The whole idea of a paragraph is to advance the reader toward your conclusion. Every sentence, and every paragraph, should share that goal.


Writing is kind of like a football team: every "play" that a football team makes is intended to advance that team toward the end zone and a score.


With writing, every sentence, and every paragraph, should work together, like a team of words. That's how you can "carry the ball" over the goal line - bring the reader to the conclusion and main point of your story or paper.


So let's form teams of at least two students - three to five is better. We're going to have some "round robin" team writing fun.


A "round robin" is a type of game or tournament in which everybody plays everybody else. In the case of "round robin writing," everyone on that team will collaborate on writing one paragraph.


You will be given a blank piece of paper with a "prompt," or opening sentence. Everyone on the team can read it, as well as all of the sentences that everybody on your team adds. You can brainstorm how your story is going to go, but let each student write his or her sentence just the way he or she wishes, so that everybody has fun.


Everybody on your team will have two minutes to add a sentence. If time is called when you are in the middle of your sentence, you still have to lay down your pencil. Your teammate can finish your sentence and then start a new one. If time runs out on the last sentence, then you know that whoever had the last turn took too long to wrap things up! Better luck next time.


If there isn't an adult to act as timekeeper, somebody on one of the teams should keep and call time every 2 minutes.


If you have two people on your team, each of you should take three turns. So besides the prompt, you should end up with six more sentences for your story or paper.


If you have three people on your team, give everybody two turns, so that you still end up with six additional sentences for your story.


If you have four or more people on your team, give everybody just one turn. Don't worry: there are several prompts to choose from, so you will all have enough turns to enjoy the round robin.


All students can watch as teammates write their sentences, but don't bug them.


To get started: give each team a prompt, make sure everyone has a pencil, and then start time. Each team will get the first 2 minutes to brainstorm their story. Then call "Time" and the next 2-minute session will start. The first writer on your team must add the next sentence during that time. Keep going until everyone on your team has added a sentence.


When you are done, have someone from your team read aloud your story to the other teams, and give compliments on the word choices and descriptive details that the various teams used.










Print out one copy for each team of students. Cut out the prompt and tape it onto the top of a piece of lined paper. The students will add more sentences with pencil as they do their round robin activity, to complete a paragraph.




No wonder no one ever went down into the basement.




The last thing the old woman said before she died was really, really strange.




One day our teacher came to school with pink and purple feathers covering his head.




I finally found out why I kept receiving mail addressed to "Phineas Q. Hogbottom."




The funniest thing turned out to be in that Burger King sack.




By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010

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