This need for a change also aligned with using inquiry in science and social studies. The power of student conferences, guided instruction and increasing a student's voice and choice in the classroom were powerful tools to get students hooked.
I changed my approach to how I teach writing and now use a cyclical/spiraling method of teaching writing instruction which is tied very closely to reading instruction as well. Allowing students the ability to choose what they want to write about, how they want to write it and when has changed by teaching of writing and completely transformed the level of engagement and excitement in writing within my classroom. The progress I see with students in their ability to write is amazing.
However it is more than just giving them less structure and rules to follow in their writing. This would lead to chaos and triple your work load as you had each student doing whatever they want. There are systems and guides and a great deal of structure that goes into preparing your students to write in this manner.
To get this started there are three things that I use to help me get started to establish writing in my classroom.
Students will still need a place to put their writing. These writing folders will help you to support students as they work through the writing process. Within the pockets of these folders students are given anchors that will help them brainstorm ideas, plan, draft, edit and revise their work. Each anchor can be taught separately and added to the folder in a purposeful way.
Writing Anchor Board
This is displayed on a bulletin board for your students. This support will be a reference for students to remind them of the different writing forms they identified as being interested in as well as provide them with success criteria charts and exemplars as students write them, and any anchor charts that you create with students throughout your responsive lessons.
These story wheels will help students to generate ideas. If you have students that struggle with generating ideas for writing different types of stories then these wheels will help you to support these students. Students will either create personal wheels or you can support them to create class wheels in small groups or as a whole group depending on need.
Want more information about how I implement my writing program in my classroom sign up now to join the waiting list for my upcoming ebook - Ignited Writing: a Differentiated Cyclical Approach to Writing.