Friday, February 27, 2015

5 Ways to Inspire Young Writers



Hi there! Are you finding that your students are in need of a little mid-year motivation to get them writing? Today I am here from K's Classroom Kreations to share a few of my favorite ways to inspire young writers. I have found that when my students are excited about their writing tasks and also feel like they have the support they need, then even my most reluctant writers are willing to give it a try!


The first way to get kids excited about writing is to show them that it is an important (and fun) part of their day. Designate a special place in your classroom to store paper, writing tools, and resources. I fill mine with colored pens, mechanical pencils, erasers, highlighters, and more. Students have free access to use these tools during their independent writing time each day. After all, if a green pen makes writing more exciting for a 6 year old, then why not?



Let’s face it, writing can sometimes seem like a tedious or daunting task when you are just learning how to be an author. One section of my Writing Center is known as our “Inspiration Station”. This area is filled with wooden craft pieces, seasonal word walls, store bought dice with story starters, and writing prompts. Students do not need to use this area, but have learned that it is here for support if they get stuck.

I made this mini word wall out of a tri-fold board. I didn't have much space on my walls and honestly hated climbing up on counters to add words (the rare occasions that I remembered). I just used library pocket cards with index cards inside each. When my students need help with a word, they simply take out the card to see if it's on there already. If not, I will add it for them. I also used plastic page protectors stapled to the board to hold seasonal word walls. Just slide a new page in each month and you are done!


Something new that I introduced this year was a sensory box for a more hands-on experience.  For example, our beach box contained kinetic sand, shovel, bucket, goggles, flip flops, ocean scented wax tart candles, seashells, and other tropical goodies. Students can physically smell, feel, and see objects belonging to a theme and then in turn write about it. This idea can be used for any seasonal theme, science topic, or even as a way to incorporate multiculturalism.

  

This has to be one of my favorite ideas….ever. Simply purchase a variety of napkins from your local dollar store or wait until seasonal items go on sale (or become known as the crazy leftover napkin hoarder at birthday parties…no judgments). Staple blank paper inside of each “mini book”. Students can then use the theme as inspiration for a personal narrative, poem, opinion piece, or informational text. Imagine the look your kids would have if they saw Transformers, Frozen, and other fun topics! I promise you…they will want to dive in to writing!


 

Napkin books became such a HUGE hit in my classroom that I also decided to make seasonal prompts. If you are interested in having hundreds of opinion, narrative, informational, and creative prompt pages all ready to staple inside of your napkins, be sure to check out my blog post here all about them, or my Growing Bundle in my Teacher Pay Teachers store. 


Here is a solution for those of you who are tired of hearing “I don’t know what to write about” 100 times each day. I’ll be honest, this activity totally came out of spur of the moment necessity and lasted all of 10 minutes….BUT I cannot tell you how helpful it has been! As a class we brainstormed dozens of ideas that the kids could write about during Work on Writing Time (independent writing). I wrote each idea on an index card and had students illustrate them. They LOVED it! We then hung all of the cards on the board and now we have a whole wall of ideas for those moments they get “stuck”.



Last but not least, allow Mentor Texts to truly be used as inspiration. When you are reading to your students don’t be afraid to point out great descriptive language, style of writing, or author’s voice. After each read aloud we also talk about how this book could inspire us to write a similar piece.
A few of our favorites from our Personal Narrative unit included:
- When I Was Five by Arthur Howard: Students then wrote about what they liked when they were 5 or 6.
- The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer: Student’s first listened to just the descriptive language and then drew pictures of what they thought the room looked like. Next students wrote their own pieces about a special room (real or imaginary) with the focus on using great describing words.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day by Judith Viorst: After hearing about Alexander’s day, students drew 6 scene pictures from either their best or worst day. They then used the pictures to help sequence events and complete their writing pieces.


I hope that you were able to find a few new ideas and are now feeling inspired! I had a blast sharing with you on the Who’s Who blog for the first time. If you liked what you read I would love for you to connect with me through my own blog, facebook page, or Teacher’s Pay Teachers store.  Thanks again for stopping by!
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