I love when writing is just plain FUN for my students. Sure, we go over all of the basics and "how to's" for writing. We learn how to organize essays, write thesis statements, use persuasive techniques, etc. Sometimes, though, it's just good to use our imaginations and have fun! This is when my writing classroom comes alive with some of my students' best ideas. This is the writing they want to share with their classmates.This is what they love.
The end of the year seems to lend itself well to just having fun with writing. The pressure of state testing is over, and let's face it- we need writing activities that POP to engage students whose minds are already way ahead on summer vacation.
One of my favorite websites for fun writing ideas is Scholastic. If you haven't been to their Story Starters page yet, you have to give it a try! My students love the look and sound effects. It also can spark some pretty creative writing with very unique topics!
My students have writing journals, and they really enjoy them. Sometimes I incorporate manipulatives with our writing topics to add a little spark. For example, when we do our Magic Stone writing, each student actually receives a magic stone before his/her writing takes place. The actual writing seems much more fun (and MAGICAL!) that way.
Sometimes students must do something silly before they start writing. When we do our Time Machine writing, students must stand and spin around three times to activate their time machines. When we do our Lost Alien writing (see below), students must speak in a "foreign tongue" before writing!
Putting writing prompts in a fun container (even if it's just a bag with a colorful label) can make the whole activity seem more enticing. Sometimes I photocopy the prompts on colorful paper that fits the theme. One of my favorite containers is a popcorn box I purchased a few years back (I think it was at Target, but I honestly can't recall).The prompts seem much more fun when they are chosen from such a container!
Popcorn theme prompts are even better when a movie theater sign is hung on the board and students begin writing to the sound (CLAP!) of the director's board. Sometimes a bit of popcorn delivered to each table during the process is an added bonus!
I want my students to LOVE writing. Sometimes that means forgetting all the formalities and technicalities and just having fun with it...and I am VERY okay with that!
Until next time, happy teaching, friends!
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