Tell me if this is you. You have this great outline of your day planned. You teach reading in this block, math in this block, recess happens here, you eat lunch here, and then writing is in this time. At the end of the day, do you wonder where your time went and why you didn’t have enough time for teaching writing?
If not, then I envy you! I have always seemed to run out of time for teaching all the things. I truly admire anyone who can stay within a certain block for teaching certain subjects.
I’m going to share with you some of my favorite tips and tricks to get my students writing or writing instruction every day, even when it feels like you have absolutely no time.
Here are a few different ways to sneak writing in every day, even when it seems impossible.
#1: Quick Writes
Quick writes are a great way to sneak writing into your schedule, especially if you only have a ten or fifteen minute block. I used to do quick writes every day when I taught second grade quite a few years ago. I saw so much progress in my students writing abilities that year. To do quick writes, your students will need a journal (or writing paper). Read them a prompt and give them a certain amount of time to write. The writing time is completely silent and they must be writing the entire time.
This may seem painless at first, especially if it is the beginning of the school year. However, keep going! It will get better and the payoff is so worth it. If you are struggling with prompts, you can use the prompts from our writing centers.
#2: Implement a writing center
If you are like me, then you fit guided reading in no matter what. One of my centers during guided reading is our writing center (read more about our writing center here). Our writing center is a class favorite and was created because I was running out of time for writing instruction every day! I was feeling guilty my students weren’t getting adequate writing time every day and so therefore, I created these centers. There are many different types of writing included so that I can pull what we are learning about and students can use those to write.
Through this center, I saw a lot of growth in my students’ writing. Students enjoyed writing because in the center, it is more laid back. They have choice about what to write about (from the choices I’ve given). Each month is relatively the same, with different themes, prompts, and topics. So, students know the routine and I don’t have to explain the different types of writing every month when the center changes.
See the full center here.
#3: Set a timer for when you need to start teaching writing
This may seem like a no brainer, but it is so hard to stop doing something when that timer goes off. If you know you need to start your writing lesson at 2:00 because you’ll need to clean up materials at 2:30 to get to recess at 2:35, then set a timer for 1:55 to clean up whatever you’re doing! Hold your kids accountable too. Tell them exactly what you’re setting the timer for. Tell them how important it is to stop what they’re doing and clean up so that you can teach writing.
#4: Do Shared Writing During Math
Try to add writing into your math block. If you’re doing word problems, have your students do a shared writing of a word problem. Let them pass the pen (or marker) to write a word problem together. This may not be the actual type of writing you are teaching, but it will help them write creatively which will help them with other types of writing.
#5: Have a publishing day
This won’t necessarily solve the problem of teaching writing every day. However, in the past I held a publishing day where students would write their books/stories and illustrate them. We would spend the entire afternoon after lunch doing this until every student was done. Of course, there were always some students who didn’t finish who would just finish the following day. However, when we were at the end of a writing unit, I found it easier to hold a publishing day so students wouldn’t have to continuously stop in the middle of a story or picture. They very rarely remember the next day what they were doing!
I hope you enjoyed these tips on sneaking writing instruction into your every day schedule. Which one will you try first?
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