Writing stamina often suffers in elementary grade levels. Why?
Well, writing is very difficult for children because it’s very difficult for humans. How many adults do you know who regularly sit down and write anything by hand that is longer than a grocery list? And asking someone for a letter of recommendation? Forget it.
This means that teachers need to employ constant innovation in their approach to elementary writing activities.
Here are several ideas that you can use, both during and after the writing is done, that will make kids excited about the finished product… and ready to do it again!
Teachers need to write along with their students. Share your own struggles as a writer (and you must consider yourself a writer!). Verbalize your inner thoughts as you draft, revise, and edit. Let your students see and hear you work on your own writing.
Once they see you as a writer going through the writing process – working alongside them on their journey – they'll follow you and find their own motivation to keep on writing and improving!
Challenging them to improve the teacher's work is also a good motivator.
Writing to a real person
Set up a prompt for students to write a letter or opinion piece to the principal, a local athlete, or a classmate… even an imaginary pen pal from another country.
Having an “audience” helps them focus and can turn the conversation that they would have with another person into an easier writing task.
Allow the children to illustrate their writing. Drawing is very compelling to children, and although the assignment should not be focused primarily on the illustration, it does keep them more engaged.
Kids like playing “teacher” and correcting assignments, so turn this to your advantage by having the children correct writing samples in class.
- Explain your standards up front about how to score a piece of writing
- Use your document camera to project different writing samples on the screen
- Discuss what’s good and what needs improvement in those samples
This is a tremendous technique for getting them to apply proper writing skills to their own work. I provide a lot more information on how to do it on this page.
Think about different ways the children can present their writing rather than simply handing it in and having it corrected and handed back:
- Reading portions aloud, adding voice to characters
- A short play with a partner
- A question-and-answer session on their nonfiction topic
Writing stamina matters – a lot!
Writing is SO important. It can be challenging to get the necessary effort, though… the kind of effort that will be needed at testing time. Try these tips to remove some pain and add some fun and motivation!