Writing is like a colorful adventure that allows our students to express their wildest imaginations and thoughts. It’s time to embark on a journey filled with inspiring strategies and easy ideas for teaching writing to elementary students. Buckle up, because we’re about to discover a treasure trove of fun and engaging activities!
Teach Students to Write by Having Them Write Every Day:
One of the best ways to teach writing is to get kids writing every day. Writing daily is like going to the gym for your brain. It helps students build stamina, just like athletes build physical endurance. The more they practice writing, the longer they can focus and stay engaged in their thoughts. It’s like a workout that strengthens their mental muscles!
Writing every day also boosts student’s creative thinking skills. They get to stretch their imagination and come up with unique ideas and storylines. It’s like doing jumping jacks for their creativity!
Plus, regular writing exercises help kids become more confident and expressive in sharing their thoughts and ideas. Being able to express their thoughts and ideas is a critical lifelong skill!
Quick Write Activities for Teaching Reluctant Writers
One of my favorite ways to get kids writing every day is to use a daily quick write prompt. I have experimented with displaying these prompts on my smart board and having students write in their writing journals. I have also print out these writing prompt worksheets which have been very fun and engaging for my students.
Writing prompts can include so many different engaging ideas. Here are just a few to get you started:
- If you could go anywhere, where would you go and what adventures would you have?
- Write a story about a mischievous talking animal who loves to play tricks on its human friends.
- Describe your dream treehouse, complete with secret rooms and amazing features.
- If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it to make the world a better place?
- Write a letter to your future self, envisioning what your life will be like in 10 years.
Teach Elementary Students Basic Writing Skills:
One of the harder parts of finding ideas for teaching writing to elementary students is finding inspiring ideas around revising and editing. Writing skills are one of the harder concepts for students to grasp. How many times have you heard that a student doesn’t want or need to revise or edit their paper! The reality is, though, if students don’t learn the basics, they will not be able to develop into fluent writers ready to take on middle school, high school, and college writing.
Writing Anchor Charts Help Students Learn How to Be Better Writers
One way that I find very effective for teaching basic writing skills is creating writing anchor charts with my students. I love drawing these out and filling them in with my class. I also print a smaller copy of the anchor charts for them to include in their writing journals.
This narrative writing anchor chart set is really helpful for walking students through skills such as creating a plot, identifying and describing the setting, and creating engaging characters.
Teaching Writing is All About Modeling Writing
One of the lessons I have learned in my teaching journey is that modeling what we are looking for is just as important as telling students. As writing mentors, we have to show our students how it’s done! By modeling the writing process ourselves, we can demonstrate the magic behind brainstorming ideas, organizing thoughts, and polishing our work. It’s like being a writing wizard who unveils the secrets of excellent writing!
I also love modeling different levels of writing as a rubric. I find this so much more helpful than a written rubric. At the beginning of a new writing project, I post my 4-5 writing samples on the wall. Then, as a class we talk through what a below expectation writing piece would look like versus an above average writing piece. I reference this quite a bit during the revision stage as well to encourage my students to continue adding to and expanding their thoughts into writing.
Fun Writing Games for Teaching Writing to Elementary Students
Who said teaching writing can’t be a blast? My students love playing writing games. When I am looking for creative ideas for teaching writing to elementary students, I search for writing games. I incorporate these into our day including as warm ups, during center time, and even as a space filler when needed. Here are some of my favorite writing games that are student approved!
- Roll a Story – This game is a fun and silly activity that will have your students begging you to write. Just have students roll a dice to decide what their character, setting, and problem will be and then get to writing. This is also a great customizable game that I will often update depending on the season/holiday, etc.
- Color Writing – This is a verbal form of writing creating by Whole Brain Teaching. Students learn to write in the correct format verbally with a partner which then translates into some serious growth in their writing on paper!
- Whole Group Story – I use this game during my morning meetings a few times a month and it is always a hit. Start off by writing a fairly broad sentence at the top of a sheet of paper (Once upon a time or something like it was a dark and stormy night.) Then, pass the paper around the circle on a clipboard. Each student adds a sentence to the story when it is their turn. When the story is finished, we read it as a class. We tend to end up in tears laughing with this one.
The Best Way to Teach Writing to Elementary Students is to Use Graphic Organizers
As a teacher, I have found that one of the hardest parts of writing for students is getting started. I find that my students get a sheet of paper and just stare at it totally overwhelmed and unsure of how to start. This is why I almost exclusively use graphic organizers to walk students through my main writing standards projects each year. Here are a few samples of organizers that my students find a lot of success with.
Chunk the Writing Process for Differentiation
Graphic organizers are also a great way to differentiate the writing process for all of our students. Breaking down the writing process into smaller, manageable chunks helps meet the diverse needs of our students. By providing differentiated instruction and resources, we can ensure that everyone soars at their own pace!
Utilize Writing Workbooks for Teaching Writing
One struggle that I had early on in my teaching career with using graphic organizers was that students were continually misplacing and loosing the work that they had already done. For this reason, I have turned to creating workbooks for each of my standards that are full of all of the graphic organizers I want. They also have space for rough drafts, revising, editing, and publishing.
Having the whole process in one place saves us all the frustration of looking for loose graphic organizers. It also serves as a really informative look at how students are doing in a wholistic way. I also think parents really enjoy being able to see the process their student is taking so that they are able to celebrate what a big success that 3 paragraph informational essay is!
Celebrate Students’ Writing
It is so important to include as much celebration, encouragement, and praise into the writing process as possible. Here are some ideas to help you celebrate your young authors in your classroom.
Roll out the red carpet for our young writing superstars with a special space in your room! I love having a “Spotlight Author” bulletin board that showcases their exceptional pieces of writing.
Open Mic Family Celebrations
Another great way to celebrate students writing is to bring their families in on the celebration. I love hosting open mic events where students are able to read their work in front of an audience. Another idea is to have zoom sessions where parents can zoom in to listen to their students read their writing one on one. I also love using flip.com to have students record their writing. This allows them to share with as many people as they like!
With these exciting strategies and ideas for teaching writing to elementary students, we can ignite a love for writing in our elementary students’ hearts. Let’s inspire them to embark on their own writing adventures, where creativity knows no bounds. Together, we’ll guide them through the enchanting world of writing, helping them become confident and skillful writers. Get ready for an incredible journey filled with colorful words and endless possibilities!