Make it INTERACTIVE
Interactive journals are a great way for students to interact with the material being taught, so why not bring that into writing? My students are always eager to work with their interactive journals and become excited about the material. Lifting up tabs, writing, drawing, and sharing with their peers keeps students engaged, which leads to learning.
Click here to look at my Conventions of Standard English Interactive Journals or click on the pictures.
Another way to have students interact with writing is to have them manipulate the material with their hands. For example, in this long vowel word work, students were learning different vowel team patterns to help them with their spelling and writing. In this activity they sorted the brightly colored picture cards into the correct vowel team. Students were excited to manipulate and interact with the material.
You can find this Long Vowel Team Word work by clicking here or on the picture.
Another way to make your writing interactive is to have a real life activity tied to it. Writing about making peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in class! (or use almond butter or Sunbutter to be safe for students with allergies.) Are you writing a personal narrative about a time you played nicely at recess? Take your students out for a quick recess as a brainstorming activity.
Whatever the writing topic is, there is a way for students to interact with it. Be creative and fun with it!
Make it RELATABLE
Students often wonder, "Why does this mean?"It is important to expose students to new things, as educators, that is what we do. When teaching writing, it is important students are focused on learning the writing process by using experiences they have has already. Have students write about topics they can relate to.
For example, writing about How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich is important because students will need to know how to write directions for someone one day. Also, most of your students have witnessed an adult make them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before. They can relate to it, so it will increase interest and engagement.
You can look at these How-To Writing activities here. In my store I have four different How-To Writing packets including How To Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, How To Grow a Flower, How to Make a S'More and How To Make a Pizza. You can save by purchasing the How-To Writing Bundle.
Make it USEFUL
"Why does this matter?" It matters because.... (fill in the blank.) There are hundreds of reasons why writing is important. As students move through their school years and into adulthood they will face the challenge of expressing themselves through writing. As we take on the technology age, writing is at its peak of importance. This matters because one day you will need to fill out a job application, because you will need to write a letter to a business colleague, because you will need to write directions for a friend. Writing matters and students need to know when and why they will USE this type of writing.
Spelling is important part of writing and needs to be practiced. While my students were doing the above Long Vowel Teams Word Work activity, I explained to them why this lesson was USEFUL to them. (Knowing common spelling patterns will help improve your writing and learn new words.) (You need to know how to spell correctly when you reach higher grades and while you are working later in life.) Done. They understand why this was a USEFUL activity and it became fun and exciting.
The above example shows a student writing directions for How To Make a S'More. This activity was useful because writing steps and directions is a skill adults use. You can find this activity by clicking here or by clicking on the picture. Check out the Bundle to receive four different How To writing activities!
Make it CREATIVE
Teaching personal narratives, paragraphs, or vocabulary use? Allow students to choose their topic. Above is an Autumn writing activity that gives students the opportunity to choose their topic and begin their CREATIVITY. You find this writing activity in my Autumn Math and Literacy Centers by clicking here or on the picture.
Make it a STAR EVENT
Students LOVE to show off their work because it gives them a great sense of accomplishment. When students want to feel proud of their work, they work harder to achieve an end result to be proud of, which is a great motivator for us teachers. I always let students know that they will be publishing their work, which in turn, makes the writing assignment FUN!
As part of the writing process, my students publish their work. During this time they can read their writing and share their illustrations to their classmates. Writing and illustrations are displayed in the classroom as a constant reminder of the hard work they have done. Allow students to share their writing and illustrations. The end result is always impressive.
Before publishing their work, students need to edit and revise. Explain to your students why this is useful, important, and a skill they will use as they become an adult. Practice editing and revising becomes exciting because it is something they need to do before they can finish their STAR writing.
I hope some of these tips and tricks will help you and your students make writing FUN! Let me know how you use these ideas in your classroom by commenting below.