If you want to make writing more fun in your upper elementary classroom this year, then you’ll want to take a look at these 5 ideas!
When I was in school, I remember being told that someday we would write essays in high school using only pens and cursive.
Well, times have changed, and writing is not what it used to be.
Now, when students write, they get out their nearest device and begin talking or typing into it.
(Not exactly the kind of practice that most teachers experienced growing up.)
What we learned from our pen and cursive days was to be thoughtful and deliberate, but what we didn’t learn was how easy it is to fix mistakes and improve upon writing, and what it takes to make writing more fun.
This put a lot of stress and pressure on a skill that is, at its deepest roots, a means of communicating, creating, and informing.
As a generation of writers who spent a lot of time staring at a blank piece of college-ruled paper with our black or blue pen in our hand trying to come up with the perfect thing to write about, we sometimes feel like writing is an overwhelming task with clear right and wrong answers and expectations.
But with the invention of computers, Google Docs, cut and paste functions, and a delete button, writing has completely changed, and with it, our opportunity to be creative risk-takers!
Writing is fun.
It is creative.
It is an opportunity to express ourselves, and tell others about our interests and experiences, and it is something that we get to share with our students!
Good writers make good readers (and vice versa), so any time spent on writing is really time also spent on reading. That is a good ROI (return on investment) in my book! (pun intended)
That is why this blog post isn’t about how to write. It is about making writing fun!
5 Ways to Make Writing More Fun
#1 | Pictures
Our students are used to consuming visuals (images and videos) in their day-to-day life, so we are going to use that to our advantage.
When looking for ways to make writing more fun, use pictures!
I would find silly pictures or ones where I had a lot of questions and display them for students. They loved writing about what they thought was going on or making up a crazy story to go with the picture. This allows students a starting point but the space to be creative.
#2 | High-Interest Prompts
Students don’t need to be writing about the cultural implications of a certain event or do an analysis of their latest read to become good writers.
Instead, give them prompts that practice the different kinds of writing but are about topics that actually interest students.
When considering prompts, listen to students’ conversations, and consider the calendar and upcoming events. These Holiday of the Day writing prompt resources with their silly but real holidays and interesting topics is also a good option!
If you make the topic one the students want to talk about, then they will also want to write about it!
#3 | Illustrate
Allow your students to add pictures (or illustrate) their writing. By adding pictures, students will bring their story to life and maybe even add details to the story that wouldn’t have come to mind if not for the picture. If your students love drawing and you have the time, why not allow them to add an illustration to the writing?
#4 | Student-Choice
Give students the freedom to write about what they are interested in at that moment.
If your student is thinking about the video game they played last night, give them the freedom to write about it or create a new adventure or timeline for the character they played as.
If your student got a new pet, allow them to use that as inspiration to research and tell you about the new breed of dog that is now slobbering all over them every morning.
If your student is having issues at home with their little siblings, give them the freedom to create a graphic novel of their tales.
Any one of these options could result in a very interesting story laden with details and interesting characters.
#5 | Explore Different Types of Writing
Spend some time in the library…yes, the actual library! And explore the different types of books on the shelves. There are picture books, chapter books, poetry, graphic novels, magazines, informational texts, memoirs, etc. Talk about each of these types of writing, and then give students the space to explore writing in each style. You can give them topics, or they can come up with their own.
Using these 5 suggestions, hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration to spice up the writing opportunities in your classroom and find even more ways to make writing more fun for your students!