Help! I Can't Get My Student to WRITE!
One of the hardest things to teach students is... Writing.
Now, more than ever, our elementary and secondary students are being asked to explain their thoughts in full details, while answering a guided prompt. What happens with most papers we receive from tutoring and homeschooling students? Crickets. Sometimes, we are met with complaints. Sometimes, we get a response that meets some requirements. Very rarely do we have students give 100% the first time around. Why? It is because our students have not been taught how to adequately express their thoughts on a particular topic. We must accept the full responsibility. There is no one person to blame for this phenomenon. The ball just dropped, so it is our job to pick it back up in the places students spend the most time. At Home While there has always been a big push for students to read at home, it is time for them to write on what they have read. Our “Reading Log” is a great resource to help them get started. We want them to have a foundation. Once this is established, we then recommend students have a guided prompt to help them establish a form of writing. This could be simply asking them to summarize the text or answering extensive questions. What is important here is that leaders in the home show students what a model example of writing would be. Kids will go above and beyond if you show them how to first. At School This model writing is also needed in the classroom. Before we even expect students to write, we as teachers should be breaking down the guided prompt so students can understand what they are being asked to do. After that, we can move on to model pieces that covers all the standards, some of the standards, and none at all. This will give students more depth of the expectations and actually have the chance to perform well. Teachers, you can create a rubric from this for students to track their own learning in the writing process. This process needs to be broken down in thinking maps and strategic outlines. Students must have structure in order to write well. When we give them the detailed process, they will be more inclined to meet the standard of excellence. Although we do not have complete control over what topics students write about, teachers, let’s make it as fun as possible. We can give a “boring” topic more meaning to students and help them express their ideas on it. At Extra-Curricular Activities If your child loves their extra-curricular activities, then have them write down what they do during that time. Allow them to reflect on new things they learned. They can even write down milestone achievements to give them a sense of pride in what they are doing. Ask their activity leaders to come up with something they can research more on to become better in the activity. Trust me, their leaders will thank you for having them go the extra mile. At Travel Destinations When your child is traveling, I would highly recommend allowing them to have a journal. Give them the task of writing about what happened for the day, even if it is just for ten minutes. This will be a great memory for them to have, and it positions them to create a running narrative. To take it a step further, they can begin to share a historical perspective on sights they see and places you all visit. Your students are eager to share what all they know! Summary All in all, give your students the time and grace to grow as writers. Expecting them to perform when they have not been taught is ineffective. Show them your thinking process and be vulnerable with them. This will take the pressure off of them to be perfect in writing. Practice with them, and do not be afraid to give them positive feedback and constructive criticism to make them better. More than anything, help them try and try again. Giving up or not trying is no longer the option for success in writing. Call to Action If your child is struggling with correlating reading and writing together, then we would like to invite you to join our summer book club! We are working through the “Black Panther” novel and movie to extend their writing capabilities. This will prepare them to excel in the classroom, college, and beyond!