We know the struggle is real. Getting your class to continuously hone and improve their writing skills is tough. We’ve got your back though. Here are a few practical and simple strategies to improve your class’ writing. Simple to set up and easily implemented in class.
1) Make your classroom a literacy-rich environment. This can be done by providing lots of choices of everyday literacy materials. Recipes, menus, signs and maps all work well. Expose them to literacy-based resources wherever possible, such as magazines, audiobooks and word games like Boggle. Displays around the classroom and notepads with easy access to writing tools help too.
2) Liven things up a bit, if writing is becoming a drag, make it fun! Let them practice their writing as usual, but brighten it up. Let’s face it, school pencils are boring! Provide bright colours, funky pencils or even scented and glitter pens for handwriting practice and note-taking.
3) Expand your pupils’ concept of an audience by sharing their work outside the classroom. Celebrate their writing in assemblies, with parents, on social media or go one step further and share it with people around the world on Pobble.com. Providing an audience for their writing really makes them think about not only the content but the presentation too. Best of all it provides a real purpose to write.
4) Most people would struggle to write about a subject they had no interest in, so find out what your class are into and build your writing lesson around that. Discovering what it is that the children want to write about can really fire up their enthusiasm for writing, even if it’s Minecraft, Pokemon or Fortnite!
5) Provide students with opportunities to give and receive feedback. Peer assessment is a crucial part of a child’s learning journey and children can be brilliant motivators for one another. Letting them peer assess each other’s work is empowering and gives them pride in their learning. Pobble's pupil tools easily facilitate peer and self-assessment. Find out more here.
6) Don’t limit writing to lesson times. Having a dedicated writing station with a wide variety of mark-making tools, different sizes and colours of paper and envelopes will promote a culture of writing in the classroom. If they want to write during their free time they will have an area for them to do so, ready and prepared with all the tools they need.
7) Go back to basics. Revise the essential building blocks that need to be in place in order to help them write with ease and fluency. Re-visit the most important grammar rules, show them how to build strong sentences and focus on construction and mechanics, such as punctuation and capitalisation frequently. Bad handwriting habits are easily picked up so a pencil grip refresher can help to improve handwriting too.
8) Encourage magpie-ing, brainstorming and note-taking. Share ideas as a class and allow your class to 'magpie' good ideas from their peers. Children need to understand that the perfect sentence takes time and thought to construct and that they can gain inspiration from those around them.
9) Healthy competition in the classroom can be great fun and really motivating. Create a weekly writing contest where the winner gains a special prize or role in the classroom (a VIP chair, cushion or cape works well). Have the children vote for their most hardworking peers each week or select a Writer of the Week to have their work published on Pobblecom. They’ll strive to up their writing game!
10) Take a class break halfway through a piece of writing. Some children can write too much and get carried away, whilst others trail off and get stuck. Take some time to pause, read things through, discuss and refocus on the end goal. Encourage your class to make this a habit to boost their productivity.
11) Discuss with your class about using the writing process for a variety of purposes, to describe, to narrate, to inform, or to persuade/analyse. Ensure they have a clear understanding of why and when they would use each style. You can find thousands of real-life examples and model texts on Pobble which a free to access and show your class ‘what a good one looks like’.
12) Let your class see you write or, even better, write with them! Seeing their teacher joining them in the work can emphasise that writing is a valued and worthwhile activity. Respond to and praise their writing as you go.
13) Use technology to improve literacy. Can they write an email to someone, read a story on the computer or practise their spelling on the iPad? Typing out their writing and using spell check can highlight any errors in a new way and give them the opportunity to self-assess simply.
14) Encourage parental involvement, consider holding a meeting to discuss strategies and tips for parents or send out a leaflet outlining ideas. Parental involvement will reinforce your message of the importance of good writing. Incentivise free writing at home and school, the more practice they get the better! Read our top tips for parents for supporting their children with writing at home.
15) Develop a love of words - Create word walls or super sentence boards around your classroom. They're a simple way to generate and capture a rich level of vocabulary that can later be used in writing. Consider several areas to collect useful vocabularies such as adjectives, adverbs or synonyms. Give your class plenty of opportunities to add to these areas and magpie from them too.