I love putting a simple spin on "everyday" activities to make them more engaging for my students. Every year I notice that I have a hard time getting many of my students writing. Let's be honest...sometimes getting a student to write more is worse than "pulling teeth"! After lots of experimenting, I found these 3 activities made my students want to write, while improving their skills at the same time.
1. Morning Journals
Why I love it: Builds stamina and confidence.
I start off by giving each of my students a journal, and let them decorate it. Each morning I put a topic on the front board for them to think about. My students then write about either the topic on the board, or anything that is on their mind. My only rule is that they write!
Needless to say, the fact that I am reading and responding to their entries makes them want to write more. I don't use this opportunity to correct their grammar/spelling. I only read what they have to say, and responded.
Why I love it: Highly engaging, and improves students' editing skills.
I have discussed blogging in past posts, but not when it comes to how it has helped my students in their writing. At the beginning of the year, I set up a class blog on KidBlog.org. I explain to my class that they are now writers on the internet, and must make sure that everything they write is professional and their best work.
When blogging, I encourage my students to closely edit all of their work. They understand that their work will be posted for all to see, so they are very careful to edit their work much closer than when they are using paper/pencil. Also, on the blog, I have the ability to "approve" their posts before they are actually posted. This give me the opportunity to read their work, and make comments on how they could improve their writing. I ask my students to make their final changes before it is published.
I have found that this process makes my students feel like "professional" writers, and because of this, they act like it.
Here is a complete FREE walk-through on how to set up a class blog.
3. Paragraph of the Week
Why I love it: Not overwhelming, provides constant practice, gets parents involved, and strengthens their understanding of the writing process.
All you need for Paragraph of the Week is a variety of writing prompts, and a place for your students to keep their work.
Here are the directions I use for this activity...
This activity helps me expose my students to a variety of topics, and gives them practice in developing their ideas when writing. Students love it because it is only one paragraph, which is way less overwhelming then some of the writing we do in class. Short. Sweet. Effective. What more can I say?
If you would like a few of these to try out for FREE, you can download them here!
These are by far my 3 favorite ways to get my students writing more! If you have a great idea for getting students writing, and would like to share it with us, please share it in the comments! :)
Check out even more ideas on my Writing Pinterest Board!