Getting students to keep writing up until the last day can be quite challenging. So many of our students begin to mentally check out and their stamina decreases.
There are several things I have done over the years to make sure that my students are writing every single day and staying engaged in the process. Writing is very much like reading in that, if the topic is not interesting, student tend to disengage. As much as we want to go on vacation, we also want our students to remain focused and not diminish their academic growth in any way. Summer slide is around the bend waiting to swallow them up and we want to prevent that at all cost. Read about the Summer Slide and how to include parents in the prevention of it (this post includes a free download to send home to parents).
How to keep your students writing
Journal every single day
Students should be writing every.single.day! That’s not always the easiest because we tend to find other things to fill our time with. As primary grade teachers, we are bombarded with a ton of standards and non-negotiables that our districts demand; however, if our students are not DOING the work, how well are they learning? We can teach students how to write, but they also need to be putting the theory into practice every day.
Find topics of interest for your students so they continue to be excited about their writing time. Give them the opportunity to do free-writes. Allow them to draw before writing. Drawing is as much a part of the writing process as writing itself. Some students need that time to expand upon their ideas through illustrations.
Power writing is one of my favorite writing activities. We do power writing all year long because of the power it has to increase student stamina. We have placed such a great emphasis on reading stamina, that we have forgotten how important it is to strengthen it through writing, too.
Power writing is an actual resource in my TPT shop. One that I am very proud of because I have seen its positive effects on my students’ writing and stamina. Below is a breakdown of how it looks and how we use it.
Independent writing is not always necessary. There is beauty in student collaboration. This writing below was created by a group of 6 students in my classroom. They discussed their topic and how to develop their writing. They then took turns writing the sentences. As each student wrote a sentence, the others were there to guide them with the conventions and ideas. Once done, the other students in the classroom circulated and read each other’s writing pieces. They provided feedback (I wrote it), and students were then able to go back to revise and edit based on the feedback given.
End of year Prompts
End of year writing is always fun for students because they get to reflect on the year that is about to come to a close. During the year, we do a lot of revising and editing of our writing. It helps our students to be more vigilant of their ideas and structure. At the end of the year, the students practice writing based on the three types we have covered: narrative, informative, and opinion. We use prompts and the students revise and edit their writing based on the 6 traits of writing. Below is a look at it. If you click on the picture, you can download a free sample to use with your students today!
Use more than just paper and pencils
Novelty is a beautiful thing! We want to offer our students multiple ways of approaching something. When writing, it doesn’t always have to happen with a pencil and paper in hand. Bring out the markers, the chart papers, the white boards! Students love to try new ways of doing things or to feel like they have access to materials that are otherwise reserved for teacher use.
Cross Content Writing
Lastly, writing doesn’t always have to take place within the writing block. There are many opportunities throughout the day to implement writing practice. Math is one of those subjects in which you can find multiple ways to get students to write. Don’t just have them explain their thinking through conversations; they can also write their thinking. Have them label materials and write about their understanding of said materials and/or processes. They can draw a picture to illustrate how they solved a problem. Don’t limit writing to writing time.
Writing is fun! Keep those kiddos writing right up until the end. Get creative and try new things.
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