Revving Up Writing

If your kids are anything like my kids – they HATE TO WRITE!

Do you get work samples like this?

My first year of teaching, I asked my kids to write an essay on the regions of the United States. (Boring topic – I know!) One of them asked me what to title the assignment.  So I responded “Just title it essay”. So she did… SA  – I went home and cried! I had no idea how to get my students excited about writing. But I know how important it is! Unfortunately most kids think that writing is something that they have to do for a test, but not relevant for real life. 

So the question becomes, how do you get your kids excited about writing (short answer – not by assigning them a boring topic!)  Getting great writing takes work – work on your part and work on theirs. 

The first aspect of getting your kids excited about writing is to give them a topic that they are passionate about. It needs to be more than “Summarize the Causes of the American Revolution”. Your students need to experience before they can write! So before you assign another boring topic, ask yourself – do my kids care about this? So instead of trying to get your students to summarize a topic, ask them a provocative question and discuss it. “What would you be willing to fight and die for?” is much more exciting than a simple summary. Discuss it with your kids, have your students jot down some ideas for pre-writing, have them discuss it again – and then WRITE! You will get assignments you want to read and students want to write 🙂

One example of how I embed writing in my class is in my Holocaust activity. Students “visit” a Holocaust Museum to learn about the different aspects of the Holocaust. As they visit the different stations, they take notes in a diary. When they have finished, they need to write to the essential question – Could the Holocaust happen again?

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