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April 2016 eNewsletter

Ideas to Motivate Reluctant Writers

TeacherFeature Tip

Writing Giggle of the Month

Upcoming Conferences
"It takes a big heart to help shape little minds."
~Unknown

Ideas to Motivate Reluctant Writers
"How can I motivate my reluctant writers?" This is a question the WriteSteps' coaching team hears frequently from teachers during professional development sessions. If you're looking for ways to encourage writing in your classroom, keep reading for a variety of tips and strategies.

My students struggle with finding a topic to write about. What can I do?
  1. Have your students fill out the "Topics I Can Write About" handout so they can keep a list of writing ideas with them. The next time they are unsure of what to write about, tell them to look at this handout and pick from their list. Download a copy of the handout here.
  2. Have your students draw a picture of a room, backyard, park, etc. and mark an "x" on every place or object that has a story behind it. This can be referred to when a student is looking for a topic.
  3. Ask parents to send in a picture that might help trigger a memory. They can also send a picture of the student's room or an area in which the student likes to play. (This could be used similarly to the drawing with the Xs described above.)
  4. Keep a running chart posted in your classroom of things students are chatting about or have questions about, e.g., new lunch item, broken swing, upcoming talent show, dog on the playground, upcoming eclipse, political conventions, baby bald eagle in Washington, D.C., etc.

My students show a lack of enthusiasm for writing. How can I help motivate them?
Usually, it's a lack of confidence or interest in writing that creates this lack of enthusiasm. Try some of the ideas below to ignite interest in your students.
  1. Let students move around the room to find a comfortable place to write.
  2. Allow students to use technology if/when possible.
  3. Try to relate writing to real life and other content areas—make it meaningful for your students.
  4. Use a timer to help students build endurance. For example, have them write for two minutes without stopping today and increase the time gradually over a few weeks.
  5. Hang our "Why Writers Write" poster in your classroom. This will help give your students an understanding of the purposes for writing. Get a copy of the poster here.
  6. Model, model, model… make sure your students see you write. This way they know it's a priority.
  7. Celebrate writing with a student writer of the week.
  8. Always acknowledge when you see improvement in your students' writing. At WriteSteps, we call these glows.
  9. Provide classroom journals for students to use for "free writes." Examples can include pets, dreams, my school, family traditions, endangered animals, Mars exploration, etc. Students, sometimes, get excited about a topic when they can read what a classmate has written.
  10. Make writing a social activity! Create a classroom newsletter, assign writing buddies, start a digital classroom blog where students are able to publish and comment on another's writing, set up writers' lunches where a group eats lunch together to share writings, etc.
Do you have any strategies that work for you? Please email [email protected]. We will share your tips via our social media channels!

TeacherFeature Tip: Communication Binders
Watch as Amanda Stores, a second grade teacher, shares how she organizes her parent communication log.


Writing Giggle of the Month
Here's a little motherly love. Do you have a funny student writing piece you can send us? If so, send it to [email protected] to be featured in an upcoming eNewsletter!


Upcoming Conferences
June 6-8, Philadelphia, PA
Our Founder and CEO will be attending the Content in Context Conference. She is looking forward to networking and connecting with other educators and entrepreneurs in the education industry.

June 13-14, Columbus, OH
Awareness Ambassador Mary Gantzer is going to be at the Educators Connect for Success Conference in Columbus, OH. Stop by the WriteSteps' booth to learn how we can help improve writing and grammar at your school!

June 26-28, Nashville, TN
Herman Humes will be at the National Charter School Conference. If you're attending, stop by the WriteSteps' booth and enter to win a one-year free trial. We look forward to seeing you there!


"To teach is to touch lives forever."
~Unknown