I think that when you can do activities that do double duty, then you are really using class and learning time wisely. This activity certainly did that! I do not claim that the original idea was mine. I was lucky enough to have another teacher share it through her blog. Christine Bainbridge is a master teacher and really inspirational. She inspired this amazing writing activity.
The students and I used a circle map and filled it with our 'brainstormed' ideas of what activities we do in the winter ( leaving out the ones that we could do in the summer, so swimming was not included, because we don't do that outside in the winter!). The students have been focusing their attention on their new 'writing targets', one of which is to write sentences that vary in structure, which means that all the sentences do not follow the same pattern. The students know what nouns, verbs and adjectives are and they were required to write a minimum of five sentences that used 'strong' words in them. They wrote about their favourite winter activity.
As they wrote, I took each student out into the hallway to put on their winter finery, then pose as if they were doing their favourite winter activity. I took a photo of each, printed them that night and then cut them out. The next day, each student was able to choose from one of seven winter backgrounds. They pasted their cutout onto the background, added the details (like a snowmobile, a snowboard, a hockey stick, a snowman, etc.) to the picture and then using brown construction paper strips, they framed the picture. The pictures and the writing were put up in the hallway.
I always know that the activity was a hit when former students come down the hallway and stop and stare, often saying"Wow! They're lucky! Wish I could have done that!"