Enhancing Student Writing

We all want to do what is best for our students.

One thing I have wondered throughout this year is how to help my students become better writers. Here are some strategies I found that have helped my students.

Vocabulary Wall, Glows and Grows, Student-Focused Rubrics

Along with these new strategies, I intentionally taught the different components needed within each kind of writing. I also met with my students one-on-one to discuss their writing and to create new writing goals with them.

Vocabulary Wall

As I read books out loud to my students, there were several vocabulary words that we discussed. These words went up onto the vocabulary wall so the students remembered how to spell them and also remembered their meanings and contexts. The students were able to find connections between the vocabulary words in different books that we read together. The students were also encouraged to use these words in their speech and writing. When the students used vocabulary words within their writing, they highlighted them with crayons.

Glows and Grows

Toward the end of the year, I introduced "Glows and Grows" and Write with Someone. After students were finished writing and editing their own work, they would partner up with a classmate. These pairs would take time to read their partner's writing, then check it using the same rubric. Once they checked for all the components, the students would write one or two ways that their partner glowed and one or two ways that their partner needed to grow in their writing. Then the students would separate and continue editing their work until the time was finished. This gave the students a chance to learn from their classmates and continue editing their writing pieces before turning it in.
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Student-Focused Rubrics

The original rubrics were very helpful when teachers were grading students writing, but the rubrics were too wordy for students to use on their own writing. I looked at the proficient level on each rubric and created a student-focused rubric for each type of writing. If the student successfully incorporated all the necessary components using the student-focused rubric, then he or she achieved proficiency.

What can we do now?

If we, as a staff, can start thinking about how we can become more intentional with our vocabulary and writing instruction, then starting in August, we will have a whole year of more intentionally teaching writing.

A couple things we can start thinking about now are:

~creating student-focused rubrics based on the teacher rubrics,

~building vocabulary wall with the students (read-alouds, conversations), and

~being intentional after field trips (give authentic writing prompts about outside experiences to continue building background knowledge and ).

My Journey

If you want to know more, click here.