Writing is a challenge to teach; It is more than simply just teaching students how to write.
There is an underlying challenge that can predict a student’s success. This is often dependent on the messaging that students tell themselves about their ability to write. A student’s attitude towards their skills as a writer is very important to ensure their success in their ability to write. Writing was the last subject that I taught as a teacher where I felt like I was doing a great job. Many times I felt that my writing program was sucking the fun out of writing and making the task feel so foreign and unrelatable to the real world of writing. This change also coincided with my beginning this blog.
This post is part of my student writing series. To learn more about writing, click through to see my many other posts in Literacy. If you are new to my blog, consider starting here with my post on How I Teach Writing!
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Let’s Get Writing!
Through blogging, I feel reconnected to my enjoyment of writing. I realized that sometimes just the act of getting your ideas out of your head and on ‘paper’ is a great feeling. I needed a way to translate this into my classroom. Writing needs to be connected, because the act of writing is just as important as the conventions and stylistic elements of writing.
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 & choice in the classroom are all powerful tools that get students hooked.
I changed my approach to how I teach writing and now I use a cyclical/spiraling method of teaching writing instruction. Allowing students the ability to choose what they want to write about, how they want to write it, and when has changed my teaching of writing. It completely transforms the level of engagement and excitement in writing within my classroom! The progress I see with students & 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 workload if you had each student doing whatever they want.
Here are three things that I use to establish writing in my classroom:
Students will still need a place to put their writing. These writing folders will help to support students as they work through the writing process. Within the pockets of these folders are anchors that will help students: brainstorm ideas, plan, draft, edit, and revise their work. Each anchor can be taught separately and is added to the folder in a purposeful way.