Grade: Senior

#3991. Braided Icebreaker

Reading/Writing, level: Senior
Posted Mon Apr 16 12:41:42 PDT 2007 by Molly Wicke (
SHSU, Huntsville, TX USA
Materials Required: 7 items (any items), pen/pencil, and paper.
Activity Time: 30 minutes
Concepts Taught: Composition using creative writing

Teacher brings in 7 items. I brought in:
Blue gift bag
Glass heart
Plastic sunflower
Cell phone
Kissing glass frog
Big Pen
Black and white photograph
20 min: Set items on a table before class starts. When students enter the classroom they can look at the items and become familiar with them. Once class starts introduce each item. Have students individually pick 3 items (in their heads) to write about. The student's first paragraph will be discussing one of the objects. The student's second paragraph will be discussing the second object. The third paragraph will discuss the last object. The three paragraphs will each discuss each item. The students can describe each item or tell about a memory they had relating to this object. Each paragraph should be 5-8 sentences long. After all of the students have finished writing their three paragraphs, ask students to share the items they chose and choose one paragraph they would like to share with the class. Ask for volunteers. Since this is an assignment that has NO rules, there is no right or wrong way to do this activity.
10 min: Have 3 or 4 students' read their papers aloud. Explain to the students that in their final (fourth) paragraph they must tie in all of the objects. They must show how their three objects can be compared. They can be tied together by a memory or a description. Explain the "braided" part of the assignment. The individual strands should "braid" together to create a pattern or a woven, connected thought or theme. Students should use imagery, personal experience, metaphor, etc. Students should write the first think that comes to their minds when looking at the objects. Don't worry about punctuation and grammatical errors; just let the students use their imaginations to write! Think of this as a creative assignment.

Since this is a confusing activity, here is an example (this student chose to describe the objects):

The kissing frog is green with many hearts. It seems as if it wants a kiss. If I kiss it will it turn into Prince Charming? The frog is full of love. Some of the hearts on it are big. Some of the hearts on it are small. It has big, red plump lips. The lips are puckered.

The Big Pen is really, really large! It is pink and black. Whoever writes with this pen must have something important to write about. It looks like it will explode, just sitting there on that table, not being written with. Would it be too heavy to write an essay with? Maybe you could write a short essay with it.

The glass heart is clear, except for some white paint. The white paint looks like clouds. You can almost see completely through the heart. You would be able to see through the heart if there weren't those white clouds. The heart is clouded. The heart is cold from being glass. Does this mean it can hold no love? The heart has a string and wants to be hung up.

None of the items you can see through. They are all of solid substance. All seem to want something: the frog, a kiss; the pen, to write; the heart, to love. All want to be used. All need someone to use them: the pen, a hand; the frog, lips; the heart, a hand to be hung up

*Another student chose to write about personal experiences:

The blue gift bag reminds me of my 16th birthday. I had a huge party and all of my friends and family were there. I received a present from my grandmother in a bag similar to this one. The present was a book. I admit that I was a bit irritated and let down by the present. I never understood the importance of the book until she passed away, last year. When I finally opened the book to read it, there was a message from her on the first page. She told me how much she loved me and that she was proud of me. This book had been her favorite teen book, and she hoped that I enjoyed it as much as she did. I read the book, and loved it too.

I chose the cell phone because it is pink! I love pink! I also love my cell phone. I know that I probably talk on it too much. It makes me realize how much I rely on material objects. It just won't stop ringing! Technology is growing so fast. In ten years cell phones will probably be out of date and old fashioned. For one day I wish I could go back to the basics.

The black and white photo is of two small children. It reminds me of a picture my mother has on her dresser, of my sister and I. Although it is not black and white! My mother loves this photo. She says that it is her favorite.

These objects all have a commonality; they are things we can never get back. We can never get back to when we are children. We only have photographs to help us remember. We can never share the bond of love of people who have passed on. We can never slow down in society. Technology will always be advancing. We should cherish the moments we live in, and the people in our lives.