Today is our first day back from winter break. While many teachers would jump right back into curriculum, I find it helpful to remind my class that we are a team--friendly and productive. What better way to do this than a snowball fight ice breaker and team builder?
I ask students to briefly explain the best part of their winter break on a scrap piece of paper, no names attached. When everyone is done, I instruct students to crumple the paper into a "snowball." Then, we have a [paper] snowball fight! After a minute of high-jinks, I ask students to grab a snowball (not their own) and return to their seats. Students take turns reading their snowball, and we all guess who wrote it.
This activity allows students to complete an activity together while still sharing their break news, thus eliminating chatter which would have occurred during class work. Plus, it's fun--in what otherwise may have been a tiring day, they get a chance to socialize and play. It is a smooth way to segue back into school mode.
Now that students have reviewed metaphors and created their own, we are ready to move into our next essay assignment. We read the Extended Metaphor Essay assignment together; students will examine all the ways a metaphor if their choice is true, choosing supportive reasons to help clarify the metaphor. Next, I share my example outline. After questions ("Can we use the metaphors we just made?" Absolutely--that's why we made them!), I pass out fresh outlines, and students get to work.
This essay diverges from the typical high school essay in that its content leans more toward creativity than logic, which makes it highly engaging for many students. This is a chance to play with language which students rarely get, but it still meets the requirements for expository writing; ultimately, they will need to explain the metaphor. Both standards and fun exist in this assignment.