This sample lesson is found in the "Toying With Writing" book available in my store on this site.
When an educator models how a toy works, then connects it to a writing skill, students can imagine how the skill acts in a similar manner as the toy.
By using toys as visual representations, teachers can access the prior knowledge students have about toys and make meaningful connections to writing. The “Toying with Writing” lesson using a “Slinky”® is a good example of how visualization + prior knowledge + meaningful connection can culminate in new learning while helping to close the achievement gap. An educator asks several children to pull a Slinky® out as far as it will stretch. After the Slinky® has reached its flexible limit, the teacher would ask the following question: “What will happen if you let the Slinky® go?”
Students know, through their prior knowledge, that if the Slinky® is released in this state, it will get all tangled up. After that association has been made, the Slinky® metaphor is extended to a specific concept in writing. The Slinky® is pulled out again by the students while the teacher reads a run-on sentence as the Slinky® is extended to its limit. The educator explains that a run-on sentence works in the same way as the Slinky®. If a run-on sentence is stretched out and out, and out… a reader will also get all tangled up. This lesson not only allows the student to visualize a run-on sentence; it also allows children to kinesthetically create one. The Slinky® then becomes a memory hook for run-on sentence recall.