“Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.”—Margaret Atwood (via writingadvice)
The National Writing Project’s 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing offers successful strategies contributed by experienced writing project teachers. These ideas originated as full-length articles in NWP publications (go to the site for find the full article that accompanies each idea below).
30 Ideas for Teaching Writing
Use the shared events of students’ lives to inspire writing.
Establish an email dialogue between students from different schools who are reading the same book.
Use writing to improve relations among students.
Help student writers draw rich chunks of writing from endless sprawl.
Work with words relevant to students’ lives to help them build vocabulary.
Help students analyze text by asking them to imagine dialogue between authors.
Spotlight language and use group brainstorming to help students create poetry.
Ask students to reflect on and write about their writing.
Ease into writing workshops by presenting yourself as a model.
Get students to focus on their writing by holding off on grading.
Use casual talk about students’ lives to generate writing.
Give students a chance to write to an audience for real purpose.
Practice and play with revision techniques.
Pair students with adult reading/writing buddies.
Teach “tension” to move students beyond fluency.
Encourage descriptive writing by focusing on the sounds of words.
Require written response to peers’ writing.
Make writing reflection tangible.
Make grammar instruction dynamic.
Ask students to experiment with sentence length.
Help students ask questions about their writing.
Challenge students to find active verbs.
Require students to make a persuasive written argument in support of a final grade.
Ground writing in social issues important to students.
Encourage the “framing device” as an aid to cohesion in writing.
Use real world examples to reinforce writing conventions.
Think like a football coach.
Allow classroom writing to take a page from yearbook writing.
Use home language on the road to Standard English.
Introduce multi-genre writing in the context of community service.
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”—Slyvia Plath (via talkativolive)