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Practical Student Writing Activities for Teachers

posted Aug 24, 2012, 6:49 PM by Lynn Salsi   [ updated Aug 24, 2012, 7:04 PM by David Burkhart ]

March is the time teachers are pulling out their hair in the last minute dash to inspire students to write. The first part of March means that the big writing test is staring everyone in the face. Teachers are nervous and the students are scared to death. - And, there's no remedy. This is a cycle that just goes on and on.

Here are a few last minute suggestions.
  1. Have students read several really good short stories and have a class discussion about what made each story interesting (or not interesting).
  2. Have students look up the biography of an author of a book the class has read and have a discussion about what the students think inspired the author.
  3. Assign students to read a non-fiction essay and talk about how the author's writing makes the article just as interesting as fiction.
  4. Let students think about the things that inspire them. Too many in-service writing classes for teachers tell the teachers what should inspire the students. Allow students to draw from their own experiences. That's what full-time writers do.
  5. Teach students to be aware of the conversations and activites around them. Noticing simple things and being aware of daily activities can be inspirational. The younger students generally think that their lives are boring. However, if they learn to sharpen their awareness of daily interactions, it will give them ideas about who and what to write about.
  6. Teach older students to write press releases. This is an announcement of an event or an announcement about a museum opening or a new book that has been published and is now available. Cut out a few newspaper articles that came from such releases and make students aware that many people graduate from college and make a living writing press releases. In my day, we also called them "news releases." This exercise makes students award that even ordinary events and accomplishments make "news". Thanks goodness I was one of those people paid to write releases.
Good luck and good writing.  Writing is fun!!