Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Motivating Writers

Happy Wednesday!!

Jivey, from the blog, Ideas By Jivey has the coolest link up. Every Wednesday she has a series called "Workshop Wednesday" where she posts a new topic. I have been wanting to link up to this for awhile, but have not found the time until today. I have read other blogger's posts from this link up in the past, and have gained some great ideas from this! I hope you will also head over to her blog to link up!

This week's topic focuses on motivating writers. This topic spoke to me, as once upon a time, I had the most UN-motivated writers in the history of teaching!! In fact, I was pretty unmotivated to teach writing myself. I actually enjoy writing for pleasure, but teaching it, well, that's another story! Part of the problem was that my past school district had a very scripted writing program which made teaching writing


Everyday when I asked my students to take out their writing notebooks, all I would hear were sighs and groans -- a teacher's worst nightmare, right?!

I decided that I would make it my own even though I didn't care for the writing program. Since then, my students actually enjoy writing and I actually enjoy teaching it too. Here are a few ways I motivated my students:

1. Celebrate Student Writing Success

When students are writing, I walk around the classroom and look for strong examples to share with the rest of the class. Perhaps it was the use of transition words that I want to point out. Maybe it was the use of figurative language I want to highlight. Whatever the reason, if I like a students' writing, I simply stick a little post-it note on the paper. The students know that if they rreceive a post-it, then they get to share their writing to the class. And let me tell you, the LOVE sharing! 

I also have students read their writing to the class by sitting in the Author's Chair. I know this isn't really a new idea, but it definitely motivates them. 

My author's chair is pretty plain, but I found some cute decorated one's on Pinterest that would make a great summer project!

                                                                              Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

2. Find Fun Ways to Publish
Letting students use creative ways to publish their writing is another great motivator. Here are some pictures of our published writing. 

 Each year my students get to publish life-like books that I order from a company called, Bare Books.

Idea inspired by Lesson Plan SOS

3. Peer-to-Peer Reading & Editing 
My students love having the opportunity to share their writing with a partner. I usually give them the last few mintues of our writing period to read their writing to a partner. The students also help edit each other's work with an editing check list that I provide them. 

Couldn't find an actual picture of students reading writing/editing- but you get the idea!

4. Collaborative Writing
Sometimes I would have my students collaborate in small groups to write. In the picture below, each  group wrote a small portion of a summary for the book, Skeleton Hiccups  Once the groups finished their portion of the summary, I put each groups' piece in a pocket chart and we read the entire summary together as a whole group. The students also helped edit the summary.

Last school year, one of my students told me that he used to hate writing until he had me for a teacher. Music to my ears after the groans I heard a few years prior! It's amazing how some simple changes can spark motivation in student writers!

Don't forget to link up with Jivey!


  1. Happy to be a new follower of yours! Thanks for linking up! I love these ideas! I am going to HAVE to get an author's chair- you are not the first to mention it and it sounds like a wonderful thing to have! :)
    ideas by jivey
    Follow Me On Facebook! :)

  2. Thanks for the ideas. I need to let my students share their writing. One thing I did that really boosted my journal writing when all they were wanting to do was to draw was to respond to their writing. It's so cute, they will immediately look to see what I have written to them.

    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  3. I'm also a new follower and I love, love, love the name of your blog. :) CUTE! Your pictures of your student work are fabulous. I can tell you work hard with your kiddos! Nice to meet ya!
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  4. I love your author's chair! What a great way to motivate the kids!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  5. Hi there,
    I found you through another blogger that I follow because your blog title is absolutely the most catchy I've seen in a while! Too bad there's no reality shows about Alaska or Indiana. I'm a second year teacher making the transition from teaching in a rural Alaskan village to *hopefully* an inner city position back in my home state Indiana. I will definitely be following you because I hope to some day move out to the Cali area.

    Loved the description of how you run your writing time. I'm always looking for better ways to teach writing!

    Miss Wilson



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