To say that writing is a complex skill is an understatement! Because teachers are proficient writers, we may not consciously recognize the skills and concepts that converge to produce coherent writing: vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and mechanics, to name a few. Add to those the critical thinking skills of analysis, reflection, application, synthesis, and more. Writing is a full-contact sport!
Here are a few tips for tackling writing instruction:
Make it meaningful. Writing assignments should be authentic.
- Be flexible and allow your writing prompts to develop naturally from classroom discussions and reading.
- Provide opportunities for student-generated writing prompts.
When kids care about their writing, they will produce amazing results. Touchdown!
Take the weight off. Every writing experience is valuable. But not every assignment must be evaluated for a grade.
- Provide opportunities for the sheer enjoyment of topic exploration or self-expression.
- Between grueling writing “workouts,” keep students’ writing muscles limber and strong with journaling, letter writing, or author’s choice assignments. Practice, practice, practice!
When grades are not a part of the workout, students will take risks and be more innovative with vocabulary and sentence structure. Then, when the stakes are high, they will have the confidence and experience to reach their goals.
Pick a part of the process. Not every writing assignment must follow the process from planning to final draft.
- Provide high-interest topics and invite students to generate multiple thesis statements. Collect and archive the thesis statements for later use.
- Revisit archived rough drafts for revising and editing practice.
Students may not make it to home plate every time, but they can still score a run!
Reflect on performances. Writers improve when they reflect on their successes and failures.
- After a writing experience, encourage students to think about what went well and what went not so well.
- Have them record their thoughts.
Using these wrap-ups, students can provide their own pre-game pep talks for future writing.
The unit texts in ThinkUp! ELAR are high-interest, high-quality mentor texts. ThinkUp! ELAR also offers writing prompts and revising/editing practice in every unit. But you’re still the coach! You know your players. You have crafted winning writing strategies. Together, we can develop a game plan that will lead your students to victory!
Find additional tips and strategies in our next post: Implementing Guided Instruction.