Honestly, teaching writing is tough. Whether you are a new or veteran teacher, teaching writing can be both thrilling and challenging. When students get to upper elementary, there are many different types of writing for students to learn. Guiding students through crafting narratives, persuasive essays, or even poetry can be an adventure. Thankfully, teachers always look for fresh ways to make the writing process smoother and more productive for students. Here are five proven tips for teaching writing to upper elementary students that will set your students up for success.
Tip #1: Show, Don’t Just Tell
Writing is such a creative process, so this tip for teaching writing is where you should start! Before diving into writing any genre, students need to experience what good writing looks and sounds like in that particular genre. Teachers can do this by using mentor texts. It’s easier for students to understand when they see it in action. Hearing well-written stories can inspire students and spark their creativity. Their minds begin churning, thinking of how they could write like that!
Using mentor texts introduces students to different writing styles, ideas, and techniques. Students can even pick up new words and ways to make their writing more interesting. Reading mentor texts also helps students see the organization of the genre. For example, how the story starts, develops, and ends. Additionally, it also gives students plenty of ideas to follow.
Honestly, using mentor texts is like having their own writing role model! It helps students become better writers by seeing and learning from the best examples.
Tip #2: Teach the Characteristics and Text Structure
Understanding the characteristics and structure of a genre will help students have clear expectations before they begin writing. Teach the characteristics and structure, then use your mentor texts as a guide. Have students go through each text and identify which characteristics and structure pieces are being used. You can even create a characteristic checklist for students to use as a guide!
Thankfully, once students know and understand how each genre and story is put together, their confidence in writing will grow. Additionally, ensuring students understand both before students begin writing will create a smooth writing process for students.
Of course, you can always have students practice writing in a fun, creative way before diving into genres. This fall choice board is the perfect way to get students writing creatively with a festive twist! Grab yours for free at the bottom of the blog post!
Tip #3: Let Writers Work Together
This may be my favorite tip for teaching writing to upper elementary kids! Before students begin to write, partner students together. You can do this in many ways. You could pair a high-level writer with a struggling writer. Or pair someone who has excellent introductions with someone great with sentence structure. Honestly, no matter how you pair students, they will learn so much from each other.
Students seem to struggle the most with the pre-writing process. Luckily, with this tip for teaching writing, your students will have a writing buddy to help them with brainstorming. Allow students to share their story or topic idea with their partner orally before they write. Speaking their story out loud helps students start to map out the details in their minds. Their partner can also ask questions, provide creative ideas, or point out parts that do not make sense.
Additionally, partnering students can help alleviate some of the chaos when the teacher is busy. Students need extra support when they are writing. Students have questions, want feedback, or sometimes just want to know they are on the right track. If the teacher is busy with another writer, have the student check in with their writing partner.
Honestly, more times than not, the partner can’t provide them with what they need!
Tip #4: Teacher Feedback and Peer Review
When students are done crafting their writing, teacher feedback and peer review is crucial! Giving students feedback on their writing before they finalize it can offer fantastic constructive feedback. Not only will this help build confidence, but it will also help refine students’ writing skills.
Additionally, peer review will encourage students to collaborate. Writing can bring students together and create a sense of community within the classroom. Students can review their peers’ work, learn from each other, and develop essential skills when offering constructive suggestions. Ultimately, a combination of teacher feedback and peer review fosters a supportive writing environment where students can grow.
Tip #5: Celebrate Student Writing
This tip for teaching writing, is one that you really can’t skip out on! Writing is hard. Period. So, celebrating student writing and their progress in writing is incredibly important. Many students need more confidence in their writing. When students receive recognition and praise for their writing, it boosts their confidence. Students will start to believe in their abilities as writers. Luckily, this self-assurance can lead to a more positive attitude towards writing as the year progresses.
Celebrating progress and accomplishments can also be a powerful motivator. Showing students you value their hard work will motivate students to put forth effort and increase engagement in writing activities. You can also celebrate by recognizing students individually for their writing. Honestly, this is a great way to show you value their writing. One way to do this is by sharing your favorite part of their story, writing two glows and one grow, or even sharing their most creative words with the class. Students will begin to appreciate the diversity of writing in the classroom.
Writing is one of the most challenging subjects to teach. However, it can also be the most rewarding. Watching students grow and become confident in their writing is worth all the struggle. Thankfully, these tips for teaching writing in upper elementary will help students gain clarity and become successful writers fast!
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Spark creativity with this Fall Writing Choice Board!
Save these tips!
Save these tips for teaching writing to your favorite writing board on Pinterest. When you are ready to teach writing, you will be able to come back to this post to implement these fantastic tips!