I'm linking up with my friend Jessica at Ideas by Jivey for Workshop Wednesday! Today's topic is motivating young writers.
In my state, students take a writing test in 4th grade. I'll be honest...I've seen a lot of kids turned off to writing because of it, but who can blame them? When all they do is write to a prompt and are forced into using a formula, what's there to love? I have a couple of ways to motivate my students in writer's workshop that hopefully fosters a love of writing.
First, and most importantly in my room, kids have CHOICE! I have talked about this with reading and I am a firm believer of it in writing, too. Kids have to write about what they know and what they have experience with. The best writing you will get from your students is when they have choice. We spend a great deal of time at the start of the year generating ideas. I read a lot of mentor texts and we generate ideas from those texts. I share with students that published authors get their ideas from what they know. Many authors keep writer's notebooks just like us!
When it comes to THE TEST....I show prompts and we discuss how we can connect it to our real life. I don't teach formulaic writing. If you teach them what good writing is and give them the tools and skills, they should be successful on any test.
Second, I write with my kids and I keep a notebook right along with them. When they are generating lists. I generate a list. When they are writing a draft. I write a draft. I share my pieces, too. I model my thinking during revision and editing. It works. They get a chance to see that all writers go through the same process. They love to hear my writing and in turn it motivates them to share their writing. You should try it if you don't already. Writing is hard and a little intimidating! Walk in your students' shoes. I think you'll have a new appreciation. We have to remember that they are just kids and we should expect that their writing reflects that.
A third strategy I use is LET THEM TALK! I tell my kids "if you can say it, you can write it!" Kids are natural story tellers, but sometimes they don't connect their stories to their writing. If kids are struggling, let them tell the story to you or a buddy, then have them write it.
There you have 3 of my MUST DO writing workshop motivators.
Some of my MUST HAVE teacher resources for writing are: