Monday, September 9, 2013


School is back in session and one of my favorite memories is jumping rope at recess. Long ropes and short, lines would form to run in and jump and sing. Here’s an old favorite jumping rhyme:
"School, School the golden rule, spell your name and go to school."
Many schools include jump rope as part of gym class and I still enjoy jumping rope to rev up my body and mind when I’m writing. With a new book debuting soon in a new genre, it’s as if my writer self is jumping rope between novels, picture books, and blogging. Many authors are excited by the challenge of publishing in different genres and how it can spur on new creative writing skills.

Jump Rope Writing Fun
Quick Time: Choose one topic from the current classroom curriculum or a topic that might affect the entire school, such as “How can we promote recycling in our school this year?” Write a list of opening “hook” sentences as fast as possible. Example quick time sentence starters: Collect plastic bottles for an art project. Tie up extra paper in bundles to help the school janitor.

Double Dutch: Write an opening paragraph on the selected topic. Trade papers with another student in class. Write their next paragraph. Trade again. Repeat until a full page is written.

Cross Over: Write a statement you can support with facts from a local newspaper article. Example: Dogs must be kept on leashes in city parks. Write a paragraph about why you agree with this statement. Next “Cross Over” and write a new statement and supporting paragraph to challenge this statement and show the opposite side of thinking on the chosen topic. Example: Well-trained dogs should be allowed to run off-leash at all times.

Sing Song: Write a jump rope song. “School, School, the golden rule..” is one example of a rhyming sing song that’s great for jumping rope. Try writing an individual rhyming song or the entire class can write together to create a group song like the following example, with alphabetical names, places, and activities. When it’s time for gym or recess, you can use the jump rope song you created in class.
A my name is Alice
And my friend’s name is Arthur,
We come from Alabama,
Where we sell artichokes.
B my name is Barney
And my friend’s name is Bridget,
We come from Brooklyn,
Where we ride bicycles.
C my name is _________ (and so on).

Jumping rope is always fun and it can be an enjoyable and productive writing challenge to jump from one style or genre to a new one.

Alison Ashley Formento’s debut young adult novel TWIGS is available September 2013.

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