Keeping our students engaged at high levels can be increasingly difficult as the school year progresses. When it comes to writing, I know my students start with a love of writing about high-interest topics. But, once the newness wears off, some of them become vulnerable to writing habits I don’t love, like rushing through the process, ignoring organization and structure lessons, and leaving out the details. Luckily, finding creative ways to motivate our young learners to write well doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of extra time. If you could use a little support to keep your students engaged, keep reading.
Kids thrive when there’s a predictable structure to access the curriculum, but we can simultaneously throw in some ideas to keep it interesting. Here is a peek at my writing routines and favorite teacher-approved strategies and resources to keep your students excited to write throughout the school year!
My writer’s workshop plan:
This is a pretty basic framework when it comes to structured writing time. It closely follows the classic model, and your routine can too if that works for you, or it can include variations that fit your students’ needs and development. The key is to keep it consistent here. When kids have predictable routines, they are more likely to challenge themselves when it comes to applying new skills.
- read aloud
- class discussion (topic, lesson, etc.)
- brainstorm vocabulary
- class story
- independent writing
Once you have a structure in place for writing time, integrate some flexible strategies to help keep students engaged and build their writing stamina and resilience. Here are a handful of adaptable ideas that may help motivate your little ones to write!
Change Things Up
Variety is the key to keeping students interested. No matter how fun an activity is, students tend to get bored and complacent if it’s used too often with no variation. Using a variety of approaches, writing prompts, crafts, activities, flipbooks, and writing pages will keep your learners interested and engaged. Changing things up does not have to be complicated and create more prep work for you. Print off fun pages that have pictures of what the prompt is about. Involve students in a hands-on activity, then challenge them to write about it. The new growing resource with monthly writing activities and my free monthly writing prompts are fun and easy ways to keep things fresh for your students. Building writing time into cross-curricular activities and centers is another way to activate the same skills in a different way to capture their attention and help them work through the primary writing skills.
Provide Students with Structured Vocabulary
Giving your students access to vocabulary words for writing gives them a starting point and guides them throughout their writing process with focus. Each word acts as a guide and helps spark creativity while helping students adapt their stories. Vocabulary themes help reluctant writers, language learners, and other young students write confidently about high-interest topics, build independence, and feel in control of their writing and learning.
Keep it Meaningful
Giving students prompts that connect with what is happening around them is a great way to keep them motivated to write! A fun approach to this is by doing seasonal writer’s workshop activities. This helps students to use what they are experiencing in the changes of seasons in their writing. The change in temperature, leaves falling to the ground, pumpkins displayed in stores and on front porches- all of these things get students excited about what’s to come. Excitement fuels creativity, and creativity empowers students to write.
Link Writing Prompts to a Read Aloud
Read-alouds are fun for young learners and introduce them to new words, worlds, and possibilities. Allowing students to write about what has been read to them will help with reading comprehension while also further motivating them to build writing skills and make meaningful connections
Encourage Students to Celebrate their Writing
Pair up with another class for a sip and read. Allow students to sit in the special chair to present the work they’ve been doing. Give students opportunities to share their work with their peers. Integrating activities like this throughout the year will give your students something to look forward to. It will also motivate them to work hard to produce quality writing for an audience.
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