Being able to teach writing to one student is hard. Teaching writing to a whole group of students is even more difficult. I don’t have it down like clockwork, because the students’ needs are ever-changing. Here’s what works for me in my upper elementary classroom and I hope that it works for you, too!
5 Tips to Help Teach Writing
Here are 5 tips I have used in my classroom to help teach writing to my upper elementary students. Hopefully, they will help you too!
1. Individual Conferences for the Win!
I find the most value when I’m meeting with individual students while the rest of the class is writing. Sometimes a writing conference is quick and just 3 minutes, but other times it can take 15 minutes.
I use a couple of checklists during my individual conferences when I teach writing! You can grab them below!
2. Writing Handbook for Students
Students want to ask questions while I’m conferencing and they learn real fast that they aren’t allowed to interrupt my time with students. But I hated that feeling of leaving students “high and dry”, so I created this Writing Handbook that I call Writing Boot Camp. It hangs around the leg of their desk and they unclip it whenever they need an idea. The writing handbook includes transition words, informational/opinion keywords, and even revising/editing hints. My hope is that this Writing Boot Camp tool can become their “teacher” while I’m busy with conferences.
3. Two Glows and Two Grows
Anytime I meet with a student, we discuss two writing glows (what they are mastering) and two writing grows (things they can improve). Sometimes, I’ll let the student identify these items. Most of the time, I lead them to the ideas I want them to improve. 🙂 I do this by asking specific questions about their paper that they may or may not have included. Based on their answers, we discuss what could make their writing even more amazing. Students write down their 2 Glows and 2 Grows so they can “own them”. This checklist goes back to their seat and they refer to it during their next writing time.
4. Writing is Planned Chaos
If an administrator were to walk in my room during writing, they would see students on different writing prompts, at different stages, and would probably have lots of questions to ask. However, there’s a reason for my chaotic writing classroom. When students finish an essay, they move to the next essay. We don’t wait for each other because we all write at different speeds. My goal is to always meet with the student within two days of them turning in their completed essay, but we know that doesn’t always happen. If I’m unable to meet with them right away, I pair them up with a higher level writer to review it until I’m available.
5. Let Writers Work Together
Sometimes, I pair up students who could benefit from each other. Maybe one student has killer transitional phrases while the other student has strong conclusions. The two students could write one essay together and learn so much more from each other than if they wrote it by themselves. This is a time when I will conference with 2 students at once. After a student works with another student on an essay, the next essay is always independent with the goal of implementing something they learned from their partner. It can be super powerful. Then, I conference again with the student so I can see what they’ve applied from their time with a partner on the essay before.
There are many ways to teach writing, you just have to find the ways which work best for your group of students!
Grab the Writing Boot Camp from my TPT store now!
Learn more about writing book camp over at this post: