Writing my way through the school year!

I have to admit, as much as I love to write, trying to squeeze it into my school day for my kids, was just not working. I mean, yes, we wrote in a variety of subjects. And yes, we had our Writing block, but…something was missing, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. The principal requested that we have our kids write every day, nonfiction writing. Why? Because research shows… Okaaay, that wasn’t working for me either.  I don’t know about you, but I would not want to write about nonfiction topics every day.

What to do? What to do? Hmmm…

About two weeks ago, I decided I was going to stop watching the clock, my schedule, the door(to see if my principal was entering my classroom for a walkthrough), and let my kids write, just write, for 5 minutes. Literally, 5 minutes. I set the timer, and let them go.  They wrote in notebooks I had given them in August that I called Daily Writing Prompts. I did not make up the name, it’s everywhere. To be honest, I forgot I gave it to  them.

Here’s how it works.  I give them a prompt topic, for example, aliens have landed in our school parking lot, and they take it wherever they want.  After 5 minutes,  they switch books with other students, read, and write a comment. (We talked about what a good comment is) Then I choose three people who want to share their writing.  I have stopped looking at the clock, my schedule, and the door, my kids can write! I guess my biggest thrill comes from hearing their interpretation of the prompt. Hearing from that kid who hardly speaks, but wants to share their writing. Loving the creativity and the spontaneity created by just letting them write.

What led to this post?  Today I was running behind, between Read Aloud(“A Wrinkle in Time”), introducing a new story(not a big fan of anthologies), I was basically playing catch-up. I started to move along to the next thing, and they shouted, I am not making this up, “Mrs.M, we didn’t do our DWP!” (Our pet name for Daily Writing Prompt).  They had already taken out their books and opened up to a clean page! Wow! And what’s funny is that Sunday, I was thinking of cutting it down to three days instead of five.

Well, just to make it a little easier, I reopened an account on PBworks.  Now they can write online, save it in the assigned folders, and more than one student can comment easily.  They will also be able to add to what they started. One of my students has turned his five minutes into a 3 page story, on his own, which he promised he will post on his blog. I’ve decided that I am going to let them share in suggesting topics for prompts, give them ownership of this activity.

I’m excited! I don’t know how long this will last.  Maybe they will get tired of it. I’ll adjust as necessary. But for now, write on Room 8, write on! :)

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Comments on: "Write On! My Kids WANT to Write!" (11)

  1. [...] Write On! My Kids WANT to Write! (oldschoolteach.wordpress.com) [...]

  2. Love this! I do daily writing prompts as our bellringer. Thank goodness NO one has told me it has to be nonfiction. That would make me crazy. Not only do they not want to write non-fiction, but I sure don’t want to read it…blah blah blah… Yesterdays prompt was … write a story that includes the Liberty Bell, fried chicken, a cow, and a remote control.

    I like the idea of having them comment on each others writing. I haven’t done that with this group…maybe in the afternoons during testing week.

  3. Its so sad that as teachers we can’t allow students the opportunity to be creative for fear the opportunity isn’t related to a tested benchmark, or the fear of being off the administratively created schedule for one minute! Kudos to you for sparking creativity in your students and allowing them to just be…even if only for five minutes.

    • Thanks V, if I actually listened to “them”, I wouldn’t have 5 minutes. I did not choose this career to create a generation of students who can fill in bubbles. :)

  4. [...] Write On! My Kids WANT to Write! (oldschoolteach.wordpress.com) [...]

  5. Julie A. Duncan said:

    I’m still working on my teaching degree and we did this in a class last week. Our prompt was an odd picture of an older woman she had found on the web. She also mentioned that you could use museum art for the prompt. We were only given three minutes to write. It wasn’t long enough for me to finish my story, so I came up with the idea of Finish It Fridays. On Friday, you get to choose any of your writings from earlier in the week and keep writing on your story.

    I’m excited you’re doing this in your class. I know I would have enjoyed it as a child too!

    • Hey Julie, I love that idea! One thing my students complain about is the fact that they didn’t get a chance to finish their stories. So, instead of Author’s Choice on Friday, I will go with “Finish It Fridays!”.:) Thanks for sharing.

  6. Amy Hall said:

    I like your idea of the daily writing prompt. My plans are to begin this with my students. I teach writing every day but never the free-writing in a journal. My focus is always on the particular genre that we are learning but I feel that students need more experience with writing freely and expressing themselves using creativity. I don’t think that my genre focus allows for enough of that!

    Planning ahead, I think that some days I will give them a topic and other days I won’t, unless they need one to get started. I may use this as an opening activity in my classroom as students arrive at different times or maybe just as they return from lunch.

    I am obtaining a master’s degree in instructional technology and am learning more about using technology in the classroom. I am very excited about incorporating new ideas but have a lot to learn about it as well. My plans, after they become comfortable with their journal writing, are to have them post to a blog, such as the one you use, PBworks. This would help my students to become more familiar with technology while continuing to improve their writing skills. Future plans might include having them to comment on each other’s writing. This will take a while for my students because they will have to be taught lessons on appropriate, constructive commenting. It will definitely be worth it to have these lessons as I believe that students could benefit greatly from peer feedback. This reminds me of my student teaching when we had students peer-edit each other’s work, only this is better because it involves technology.

    Thank you for the ideas and for any comments you may have about my future plans for my students.
    Amy

    • Hey Amy, I like your plan. Actually, I let my kids do most of their blogging on Kidblog.
      It is the most simple blogging tool for students I have ever run across, and it is safe!
      Check out my post about Kidblog on Blogger. (I have moved)

      • Amy Hall said:

        Thank you. It looks like Kidblog would be a useful tool for my students. Also, this will be my last post here as I have already checked out your new blog and will post there next time. Thanks for the advice. Amy

      • Hey Amy, I know you will love Kidblog! Fel free to read some of the old posts on here and enjoy the new one! Thanks for reading!:)

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