Michelle Wittle On Writing So Kids Can Learn

Michelle Wittle On, Writing Tips

I am so sorry for not blogging. I have just been overwhelmed by teaching. See…this is why I left the profession to begin with. I can’t seem to get myself to write.

Which brings me to my next point.

How do teachers get kids to write?

We put a gun to their head.

No, that isn’t true. I am not too sure how others get kids to write but I am willing to share with you how I get mine to write.

First, we are creatures who love talking about things we know. What better subject do we know then ourselves? I don’t want to hear people say that they don’t like talking about themselves because all that really boils down to is a self esteem issue. You just want permission to talk about yourself and if someone is asking you about, well, you then it is a given that they do really want to hear about you.

So, my first point is, give the kids something easy to write about…maybe something they love or have a subject they have a strong emotional feeling towards. If it is something they can talk about for a long time, then they will have plenty of material to draw from.

Secondly, give them structure. Give them a formula that their writing has to conform to and it will give them more confidence to write. Also it will help the kids stay organized and that will make them feel better. Most of the time, kids don’t know what to do with all the information they have and they just get sentence overload. If they know they have a set structure, it really calms them down.

Third, if this is the first or second time they are writing for you, don’t make the papers bleed with red pen. Just look for the most horrific mistakes and correct those for the kids. Then, once they master those mistakes, start tackling the other ones. Nothing stops a student more then a bloody paper.

Lastly, show them examples. I always write the same assignment I am asking the kids to write. It helps them because then they can see a different example of how to approach the writing and also they like knowing I am doing the same thing they are doing. Once the students hand in some of the work, let them share their work if they want or share the good parts of some of the student paper’s.

Writing is such an uncomfortable thing to do if you aren’t used to writing. So, the best way to combat resistance is to ease kids into writing and raise their comfort level. As soon as they start feeling successful, it will become easier for them to write.


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