TOP 5 TIPS for getting your students EXCITED & ENGAGED with writing! How to make meaningful writing!
Hello hello hello!
How are you doing? If you’re a teacher who is out of school for the rest of the year, my heart goes out to you. I’m thinking of you. I can’t imagine what it must feel like. You’re learning and growing and (probably) overwhelmed. There are no words to give you that you haven’t already heard, but I hope you know that you are seen, important, and amazing!!!
Today, I want to talk about teaching writing. We all know the importance of teaching students HOW to write, but it can feel like an uphill battle getting students to understand the WHY of writing… especially if those students are ESL. So, how can we do that? I want to give you my top 5 tips for increasing your students’ interest in writing so that you’re not battling with them about writing time!
Check out this video of my student re-reading his writing before "publishing" it to make sure he felt it was complete!
Creating an environment that is low-stakes allows for students to take their writing to a place they are most comfortable. These tips are lower primary focused, but some can definitely be applied throughout the years. I hope these tips help you get your students excited about writing!
1. Teach genres but don't FORCE students to only write in that genre.
I know you’re thinking “but if they don’t practice writing that genre, they may not do it well when I assess them on it.” No no, I know, but isn’t getting them WRITING more important? You can work one-on-one with them on perfecting or improving specific genre writing, but if they hate writing… you’ll never get them to write.
2. Be a writer yourself!
Teachers who are writers put themselves into their students’ shoes, and it makes teaching writing easier. You understand their struggles and their successes more. I don’t mean you need to write novels, but journal. Write about your day. Write a story if you’re feeling it (I wrote a children’s book!). Being a writer helps you know where your students may struggle and how you can support them.
3. Have a consistent “writing time.”
This one seems difficult at first, because these schedules are SO BUSY. But, if you fit in time everyday for students (or even you child at home) to practice some writing- low stakes, just write type of writing- you may find that they CRAVE this writing time. Students are still learning how to manage their own schedules and emotions (double whammy here!), and so if you give them structure and show them they can make time for something important, like writing everyday, they will thrive… plus it’s a great chance for them to write and get out what they need to if they’ve got something on their mind! Score socioemotional work & language skills all at once!
4. Share the pen!
Write with your students! Get some paper out and write a story together. Write every other sentence, every other paragraph, write some independently and then have your students read what you’ve written and write some more to add on to it. Sharing the pen and being co-constructors of the story allows your students to learn from your writing style and practice different crafts while taking the pressure off them in having to do it all alone!
Independently, read alouds, read for fun, read for information, read tricky books, read easy books, read fiction, read non-fiction… do it all! All that matters is that your students are READING or listening to reading! You cannot model a craft or a style of writing without seeing and hearing examples of it. You cannot develop and engage in writing if you don’t know more about how others are doing it. Your students need books in order to write stories. Don’t forget this important step!
Show students that writing is everywhere… on everything… that writing gives meaning to things and that everywhere they go in life, they will need to read and write (even simple things like grocery lists!). Sample different types of writing by showing them off intentionally and with purpose. You need to make something for science class? Write a list of things you need! You have a busy day planned? Write down the schedule and each activity you will do for students to see! There are tons of ways you can do this. Writing is literally EVERYWHERE!
SOO those are my TOP 5 TIPS for getting your students writing & helping them see the importance of writing.
Once I started doing all of these things, I found that my classroom transformed from “ugh, I hate writing time” to “can I write a story?!” every.single.day. They LOVE it, I LOVE it and I am able to hit different standards based on everyone’s needs and preparedness in class. Trust me, when you start implementing ways to make writing meaningful for your student, everyone wins!
Did any of these surprise you? Are they things you do already?
Tell me in the comments what are some of your best tips to get your students to LOVE writing and create real meaning behind it! Let’s share how we make it successful in our classes and help each other build meaningful writing programs!
Talk to you soon!