24 comments
  1. Well written! I would also add to make it authentic and real-life. Create opportunities to be inspired by music, sounds, walks, trips and global classroom projects (for example). Having an authentic audience and purpose is the best we can give our students.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that idea. All of that can be inspiring for students.

      Delete
  2. Great article. I have drastically changed how I get my pupils to write and definitely follow the rule about keeping it short and meaningful. I don't have a writing time in my class as I used to, as writing is now far more reactionary.
    We write to read it aloud to others and share it on our Blog. We have to follow the school plans but making the stimulus practical is the key. Thank you for sharing your insights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the fact that you are embracing simplicity and you do shorter, reactionary pieces.

      Delete
  3. I also work with http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/ and www.plinky.com, of course with careful choice of the topics taking consideration of students needs, interests, emotions
    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have mentioned that site. Luke Neff is a genius. He and I have worked together on some of our writing prompts.

      Delete
  4. I'd like to add that you need to also account for the amount of work this takes. Very often, if you're older students (I have high school sophomores), you find that you're not only working against your students' reluctance to write, but their reluctance to do anything that isn't going to be marked up or graded. I want us to be constantly writing but I don't want to be constantly grading, so I have them keep a journal.

    Furthermore, I actually have found that I have to put a length requirement on journal entries because otherwise, the students who truly are reluctant to write will write a single word or nothing at all and then it's a waste. I collect these journals about twice a quarter and just take a look to see what they're doing. Sometimes, I have them expand on their entries in a larger assignment such as an essay; sometimes, what they wrote is fine (depends on what we're doing). But since they're not far removed from whatever Skinner Box they were living in, I have to grade them at least a little .

    You'd think this would be simple, btw ... but this year my students seem completely bewildered by the idea that when we do a quick prompt or some other exercise, I'm not collecting and grading it right that second.

    Teaching writing in high school is such an uphill battle that no wonder so many give up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The testing and grading culture is one of the hardest battles to fight. I'm with you on that. My only hope is that keeping it creative and meaningful will make a difference.

      Delete
  5. Just keep on walking Clumsy. Brainy suggested that the wisest ruled the world, but in the end, it was Grumpy inciting fear on talk radio that led to an uprising.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took me awhile to realize that you were answering the writing prompt. Nicely played.

      Delete
  6. Great article!
    The only thing I think is missing is....
    Share your struggle with writing too!

    How freeing it is to some students to see that it is not something that comes easy to everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the ideas - some might be helpful for my own child who is definitely reluctant with his writing! Here's another idea for you that I did with intermediates one year - more as a writing warm up. We gave them 5 or so random words - one tied to setting, one to character, etc and there was always one word they may or may not know which may require use of the dictionary. You then told them to write a story using all the words. Initially some would write one really long sentence using all the words at once but some of the reluctant writers would write a little more each time and couldn't wait to share their stories aloud (sharing was optional). The other teacher in the room really got into it which got the kids totally engaged. It was a really fun activity as they kids could be as silly as they wanted and it led to lots of laughter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that idea. It certainly spices it up and makes it more challenging. I can imagine that it would push kids to be a little more creative.

      Delete
  8. I do hope you will add 100 Word Challenge ( 100wc.net) to your list. It is having a great impact on writing particularly those who are reluctant for whatever reason.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know about that resource. I've never tried that, but it sounds interesting.

      Delete
  9. I agree that the writers workshop model gets old fast if you ask kids to follow it for every assignment. I am a big fan of list making when the writing muse isn't readily available. Those lists start turning into full sentences and explanations. Also love the comment about chart paper and the environment. Teachers forced or trying to prove that they are teaching to all the standards can make their classrooms into a visual hell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The crazy part is that Writer's Workshop is great. The process is great. It just needs to be balanced a little and is often overly-structured.

      Delete
  10. Enjoyed reading your tips. Thank You!!

    I'm a sixth grade teacher and enjoy sharing my technology endeavors through http://www.yoursmarticles.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks John for always sharing such a unique & latest updates..I read your blog on daily basis because It helps to keep me updates.

    ReplyDelete
  12. John,

    I really think your article reinforces some excellent pedagogy and ideas. I really enjoyed your point about 'hyper-structured' planning for teaching text types. It it important to ensure students can differentiate between text purposes, but I fully agree that students see straight through us if we aren't flexible.

    Great post. Inspiring.

    Cheers,

    Teddy.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave a comment. I enjoy the conversation.