Making Writing Fun

If your kids are like mine at the beginning of the year, the idea of writing is torture. The second I mention that we are going to write, a few kids get excited, but most seem to get the deer in headlights look. A few years ago, I changed my approach to how I teach writing and it made all the difference. I'm not claiming to be a writing expert, but this is what currently works for me.

 First, I make sure the topic will be fun. Seriously! We are adults and if we have to write, do we want to write about the history of flags or how to multiply. I'm sure someone out there may want to do that, but I doubt that would get most of us excited. Kids are the same way. We need to pick things that are silly, fun, interesting, and cause their eyes to light up. It does not matter if you are teaching first grade or third grade. Your writing topics when you are teaching writing should be entertaining.

Next, our kids need to know our expectations, especially when they are learning to write. Don't we want to know what is expected of us when we are asked to do something? The easiest way to do this is with a rubric. When I create rubrics, I make sure that I include things that are part of our standards. However, I write it in language that my students will understand while including vocabulary that they will need such as evidence, dialogue, compound sentences, and more.

Once we have established expectations, we need to model what that will look like. I typically type up a version that follows the majority of the rubric I am using and a version that forgets to follow the rubric. We read the different stories and then I let my kids use a rubric to grade them. My students LOVE the opportunity to grade writing and it leads to interesting discussions. For example, if the rubric says, "Include dialogue in your story", we read through the story and see how much dialogue we see. By doing this, it allows my students to have a better understanding of what is needed. If we see very little dialogue, they understand that will not be full credit.

After I model and go over our rubrics, it is almost time for us to write. Usually before writing, I have my students use graphic organizers. My students fill in the opening, details, and a closure. Some students write more than other students, but it helps all students to begin to understand how to organize their writing. Then, they take their graphic organizers and they use them to write their stories. With lower grades, these were often rough drafts. In third grade, since my students have the ability to type, my students usually type their stories and then we go through them together with me leaving them notes on what they need to adjust.

Finally, we place all of our writing in the hallway. My kids love seeing their friends, old teachers, and family members stop by to read their writing. It makes them feel great about something they have done! While it does take awhile to establish these steps, eventually it becomes easy. We may only write one story a week to every two weeks, but my students' writing is much richer and they begin to grow in confidence.

If you are interested in several writing packets that my students in first loved doing each year, click on the pictures below. These packets are on TPT.

Also, I have multiple writing freebies and ideas on my blog. Below are several pictures. They are linked to some of the writing freebies and ideas that you can find here.

I hope this gets you started! Have a fabulous Sunday!

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