Writing is a skill we can improve on at any age. As a sub, I am blessed with being able to see various ideas in the many classrooms I work in. I love the materials ready at hand for students, the inspirational writing centers and display boards, and lessons taught on writing. All of these together help students to become that ‘superb writer’.
One thing students need to be successful in writing, are ideas to write about. Too often I hear students say that they do not know what to write about and are stumped. Providing students with a list of ideas and topics is one helpful way to guide them on to the path of writing. Posting a picture on the board as a writing prompt is another way to spark writing. Giving students a display of different things they can write such as poems, letters, posters, stories, etc. can help spark that creativity in the students and ignite their passion for writing.
Display boards or bulletin boards with writing tips and information are also a help to students when writing. These displays could show the steps in the writing process, a rubric or scoring guide for students writing, descriptive words for students to use, or examples of student writing. Bulletin boards can be a very valuable tool in the classroom. Having these tools that are readily available, this helps them become better writers.
Having the right materials also helps students when writing. A variety of writing papers and writing templates gives students a choice. One classroom I was subbing for had blank paper, lined paper, paper with a spot for writing and drawing, comic strip paper, and more. The kids loved having a choice of paper to use, even construction paper.
Ways to improve their vocabulary is also important. I’ve been in classrooms that gave each student a personal dictionary to use. It was readily at hand in their desk to pull out any time they needed to look up a word for correct spelling. A local club in our community likes to donate dictionaries to all third grade classrooms in the district. The look on the students’ faces as they realize that they have their own dictionary to keep forever is priceless.
Another source of checking vocabulary are pocket spellers or online sites, such as Grammarly. Pocket spellers are compact and quick to use. Several classes I’ve subbed in have class sets for children. The kids love them because there are sometimes word games on these pocket spellers, but they’re still learning!
Word walls can be another great addition to the classroom for those young writers. It helps them become more independent in their writing and more likely to learn the words with repetition. I’ve seen various word walls, some including environmental prints of stores in the community that the students are apt to write about. Including the kids’ names in the word wall is great and when students write about other students or write letters to other students, they are able to look up the name of the person they are writing about.
Having the right materials, a variety of resources, and ways to influence student writing, will helps students excel in their writing. Writing is a way for them to voice their opinions and let their imagination run free. They’ll become stronger and better writers and even superb writers.