Writing can be one of the most challenging subjects to teach, but it really shouldn’t be. Writing is important; it allows for people to convey thoughts that they would otherwise be unable to.
For me, on a personal level, I love writing, but that wasn’t always the case. For many years, it was tedious work for me. Mainly because I had a limited vocabulary and therefore lacked the ability to express myself in the multi-faceted way that one is able to.
Writing takes practice. We put so much emphasis on reading stamina and having it be part of our students’ everyday schedule. We tell parents that their child should be reading everyday for a minimum prescribed time, but we often fail to mention that they should be writing also. Reading and writing are directly connected and support one another. The more you read, the better a writer one becomes and vice versa. Yet we sometimes put writing to the side.
Last year I started implementing something called power writing in my classroom. If students have to practice stamina for reading, why not do it for writing as well? I have seen a vast improvement in my students’ writing. Writing comes more naturally to them and they can sit for longer periods of time getting their thoughts down on paper.
Power writing allows for students to get their writing down on paper quickly. Students tend to stall and overthink prior to writing when they have not had enough practice. Power writing happens daily for a period of 1-2 minutes (or up to 5 depending on teacher preference). It is a quick time dedicated to writing where students can write as much as they can in the time given. The idea is to get them used to jotting their ideas down immediately as well as to increase their stamina. Once their writing is done, students can count how many words they wrote and then graph the amount. The graph is found at the back of their power writing book and as they track their words daily, they will be able to see their growth.
Assembly & Usage
Putting together the power writing books is simple. I designed it so that only half sheets of paper are needed and two books can be created at a time. I like to assemble these books in June and then I place them in a bin labeled “Back To School”, so that they’re ready for the following school year.
Variations in Power Writing
Power writing doesn’t have to be done the same way all the time. The basic steps would happen daily, but after that, teachers can vary the process depending on their students. Below are suggested ways to differentiate that will not only keep students engaged, but also motivate them to think deeply about their writing, someone else’s writing, and connection building. Writing is so much more than just spelling and grammar. Writing involves so much of us because it is our thoughts, observations, and responses displayed in a different form.
Happy Power Writing!