We all know that the more we do something, the better we become at doing it.
We are all looking for ways to help our students grow as writers. One of the most important things we can do is to make sure they are getting enough time to write every day and that they are using their writing time to actually practice writing.
According to the US Department of Education, kindergarten students should get at least 30 minutes of writing time every day. Starting in first grade, this number doubles.
But how do you fit this writing time in to an already overpacked schedule?
How do you motivate students who are not interested in writing even when they are given enough writing time?
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. Find a real audience for your students' writing: When students know that their writing will reach the hands of a real reader, they instantly take a heightened interest in making sure that the content is strong and the editing is correct. Knowing their words will reach an real honest-to-goodness reader (versus just getting a grade from their teacher-reader) gives writers a purpose for writing and shows them that their words matter.
2. Write with your students: Students LOVE to see that their teacher is a writer too. It shows them that you value writing and can instantly change the climate of a writing classroom.
3. Allow time for writing throughout the day: Take a minute to think about how much writing time your students have throughout their day. How can you fit a few minutes of writing into a content area? Breaking up writing time is also helpful for students who have difficulty concentrating on one thing for extended periods of time.
4. Create habits for writing: Valuable writing time is often wasted when students need to search their desk for supplies, can’t find their notebook, stand in line to let you know that they are finished and to ask, “Is this good?” Setting up routines and procedures for writing time will assure that students have more time to write and spend it writing.
5. Don't forget about choice!: No one likes being told what to do all the time. Offering students as much choice as possible during writing time will increase engagement and effort, resulting in a higher writing volume. This choice could be either a choice in product (story, comic strip, play script, poem, etc) or topic (everyone writes a poem about any topic of their choice, but it must be a poem).
Call to Action Challenge: Which one of these five ideas interests you the most? Will you commit to trying it out in your classroom for two weeks? We'd love to know what happens if you do. Drop us an email and let us know.
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