TIPS FOR WORKING WITH STRUGGLING WRITERS

gaybayberryAI and Robotics

Nov 17, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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TIPS FOR

WORKING WITH

STRUGGLING WRIT
ERS


FIRST,
ADDRESSING THE INDIVIDUAL
:



#2 can be #1



(When you are dysgraphic the small muscles in your fingers just can’t move as
quickly or
as
easily as the thoughts inside your head. It’s not as much about writing faster as it is
about getting the words down before
the physical
effort of writing makes
you lose them.
Working with a slippery pen actually gives the writer less of a feel of writin
g than using
a
good
,
sharp #2 pencil


pens also smear

more

for left
-
handed writers and aren’t erasable. Plus
getting up to walk to a pencil sharpener can
be just the mini
-
break that
kinesthetically
inclined
students

need to get their thoughts in order.

For more information on dysgraphia, ergonomics
and writing, go to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysgraphia

or
http://www.bellaonline.c
om/articles/art51078.asp

)




Get a Grip



(Different writers have different ways of holding a pen or
a
pencil. Some hold it
almost all

the way down

at the
very
point for maximum control while others hold it further up
for move leverage and speed. Having an instrument that
comfortably
fits your grip is important
for writers for whom legibility is an issue.
It’s always good to know your needs and preferences,
so
let students experiment with both fat and thin implements

as well as ergonomic sleeves that
can be inserted over their pencils
. Let them explore different grips, too
--

most of us only know
our own.


Also,

as some students with grapho
-
motor issues bear do
wn incredibly hard on their
paper, help them ease up an
d apply only enough pressure to

will allow them to

write without
making their fingers ache
.

More information on grips and handwriting can be found at site like,
http://www.otplan.com/articles/pencil
-
grasp
-
patterns.aspx

and
http://specialchildren.about.com/od/schoolstrategies/bb/pencil.htm

)




Stay i
n the Strike Zone



(If there is writing to be done on a board, wall, or easel make sure that

struggling writers can write between

head and shoulder level


it’s a lot harder to write above or
below it).




Type A



(For some struggling writers
,

working on
a computer keyboard is infinitely more
manageable than slaving away with squiggles and smudges. If you have a limited number of
computers and a limited number of struggling writers, give them the opportunity to type instead
of write
. And for writers who ar
e the most dysgraphic there are also relatively inexpensive and
relatively accurate voice recognition software programs out there like MacSpeech Dictate, or
Dragon Naturally Speaking.

More information on speech recognition software can be found at
http://www.consumersearch.com/voice
-
recognition
-
software

)




Leverage Other

Intelligences

--

(We’re all hard
-
wired to learn
a little
differently
. Many youth
work professionals already adapt
their instructional methods to reach different learning styles
(e.g.
graphics and

starting with the “big picture” for visual
-
spatial learners, oral presentations
and clear steps for auditory
-
sequential learners, opportunities to move and manipulate for
tactile
-
kinesthetic learners). But different young people also have different lev
els of multiple
kinds of intelligence. Professor Howard Gardner’s pioneering work at Harvard spurred a
generation o
f educators who see beyond
book
smarts
(
http://en.wikipedia.or
g/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences

) . When book smarts or
“linguistic intelligence” aren’t the most highly developed in a writer, we can still levera
ge the
young person’s
spatial,

(shape, form and structure),
logical
-
mathematical

(rules, analysis,

evidence),
bodily
-
kinesthetic

(sports, the body, action, presentation) ,
musical

(poetry, rhythm,
meter, culture),
interpersonal

(collaborative, networking, questioning)

,


intrapersonal

(reflective, journaling, morality),
naturalistic
(the environment,
behavior,
animals) or even
existential

(spiritual, philosophic, idealistic)

intelligence i
n the topics we assign them
and the
process
es

in which we
ask them to write.

Strategies for different learning styles can be found at
http://www.allkindsofminds.org/reach
-
more
-
learners

)




If You Can Speak, You Can Write



(Struggling writers have already met with enough humiliation
in their writing lives


we don’t nee
d to add more. When student
s

have

severe

production
issues
, have given up and believe

that
t
he
y
simply
CAN’T write
, prove them wrong by scribing

for them
.
After all,
in the final analysis
writing is about thoughts and communication, not
penmanship.
Pick a topic about which
they have
definite opinions
and ask

them
first to tell you
informally
in conversation
what they know about it. Once it’s clear that they know something
and you have acknowledged that

expertise
, ask them to
dictate to you sentence
-
by
-
sentence
what they want to say a
bout it. Remind them that you will be writing down their exact words,
so they should
speak in complete sentences and
choose their words for cla
rity and the way they
will communicate

to
all
readers


not just the people who know them

or already know about
what they’re writing
.

Then, thought
-

by
-
thought
,

put their

words down, reading back
their last

sentences they
if they get stuck. Keep it

short and simple and then read them or have them
read you the

record of their spoken
-
writing.

Show them that they ar
e indeed writers.

You can
then
scaffold this process by moving into
an
alternating
model
[
they write one line and you
scribe one line

for them…or…

they write one paragraph and you scribe one paragraph

for them
,
etc…
]

until they are comfortable writing on t
heir own
.

For more information about the
connection between speaking and writing, go to
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_S
earchValue_0=ED238023&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED238023

or
http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_S
earchValue_0=ED255931&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED255931

)




MANAGING WRITING MECHAN
ICS:



Separating Form and

Content

--

(Many young writers who struggle with the physical act of
writing or
with
the rules
of
grammar get so hung up
on production and mechanics
that they
become paralyzed and incapable of

putting their thoughts down. It’s import ant that they
understand that i
deas and communicating them are what it’s all about


having handwrit
ing or

grammar that can be
easily
deciphered
are just tools to get your point across. You

can help
young writers

make that

distinction by
making the distinction your
self. First ask

them to first
put on a “writ
er’s hat” and generate ideas
, not even trying to be correct in grammar, spelling or
punctuation.
Give them
as much
positive feedback

as possible
for their th
inking and their
communicating.
Then ask them to put

on an
“editor’s hat” to examine
how effectively their
writing
will communicate their wonderful thoughts

to an audience
. Have them first focus on
more
fun and
creative things they can edit like word cho
ice, sentence length and anything
needed to fill o
ut

or support their ideas. Afterwards
, as ownership is increases, ask

them
do a
final polish for “publishability” this time for grammar, spelling, punctuation


whatever
me
chanics you want to focus on. I
f

you display or publish

their completed and polished work it
can provide an
extra
incentive to

go through the process on another piece of writing
.

And if you
grade or give marks on writing, try giving two grades


one for content and one for mechanics.

Th
ere is a lot of confidence building in knowing that your ideas are good, even if your mechanics
need work.
)




Write
Step
-
by
-
Step

--

(Sitting down to write

anything in its entirety
can feel like a daunting task.
If the work that you ask young people to do i
nvolves writing, try to give them their writing
assignments in manageable chunks or stages with step
-
by
-
step instructions on what is expected
of them.

That way the success and recognition that
they
get at each step can help move them
forward

to the next
.

This technique can also be used in collaborative writing when different
writers tackle different pieces of an assignment.
)




Rubrics
Rule



(Our goal is for young writers to be
come

autonomous, to be able successfully to
check and edit their own work. Give them some practice by creating a rubric, a check
-
off list, or
a chart that details what they should check their work for after they write. Better yet, let them
decide what their
most common mistakes are and then
help them
create a rubric around them.
Before
they employ
the rubric,

i
t ca
n be best to wait
an entire day after
initial
writing
so that
their experience of creating, communicating and expressing is separate from their exp
erience

checking,

editing and polishing. Ru
brics can address really any aspect

of writing


from grammar


to word choice


to mechanics


to punctuation
. You can find a guide to making rubrics at
http://rubistar.4teachers.org/
.

They can also be

tailored to any writer’s grade level by
referring to the Common Core Standards
www.commondstandards.org

on “Language”

[
a/k
/a
grammar]

in
the
English

section
.


Here are a few of the most common

errors
with which young writers often struggle.
They are
followed by examples of the errors in action
. For collections of the most popular grammar and
writing mechanics websites, check
http://zzwriter.com/5
-
best
-
grammar
-
sites/

,
http://www.bestsit
esnow.com/grammar

,
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/

and
http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/Co
mmentView.aspx?guid=6a9cf533
-
0510
-
4e46
-
9e4c
-
aec678de813c

)
.




Initial word and proper noun capitalization

(The fox hunts all night for food. if he is
really hungry he wil
l even hunt during the day. And

it was in alaska whe
re the days can
be really long
where professor dorinda motley
of Syracuse university
first discovered
that foxes adapt to the light of their environments.)




Lack of comma use

(During our trip we went rafting s
wimming hiking and fishing.
Even
though we had never seen a snake most of us w
eren’t scared at
all when we came
across one. When you come to think of it

snakes are usually harmless creatures
that

are
more afrai
d of us than we are of them.
That may be true but a lot of people are scared
of them anyway
.
Snakes have been a part of the
environment since humankind first
walked the Earth in fact the Bible tells us about a

snake in the Garden of Eden.
When
the Bible tells us “Eve spake unto the Serpent” we know that there is trouble ahead
.
)




Too much comma use

(When we got back,

from the

ca
mping trip,
we all enjoyed

a
dinner out at Steaks, and Shakes, which is our favorite place to for dinner, and desert
.
First, we ordered an

appetizer, followed by an entrée, and, of course, a dessert
.
After
three, whole
,

hours of eating, our group leader sa
id, “All right, troops, desist, we have to
be able to fit into the car.”
)




Subject verb disagreement

(He likes gardening but he don’t like to get
dirty…..or……Most animals living in the equatorial rain forest, including the panda,
doesn’t move more than th
ree miles during a cycle of seasons
…or…The boys and she
hasn’t heard a thing all day
…or….The committee want a solution to the crisis.
)




Shifting verb tense

(She caught the fish and then throws it into the boat and left it there
until she rows back to shore
. Later, she told her friends about the huge number of fish
she catches and her friends are impressed.)




Shifting pronouns

(If someone calls, tell them I am not home…or…
.If someone wants to
play baseball, you must learn

the rules
…or…When we asked about how

to make a
movie, we learned that you start by writing a script…or….
Whenever one carries
explosives he should carry them very carefully
..
.
or…Everyone is entitled to their
opinion.
)




Lack of pronoun use

(Barack Obama spent a lot of time preparing the speech

that
Barack Obama would give to the nation
…or….Miranda, after searching the entire house,
found Miranda’s cell phone lying where Miranda had left it the night before.
)




Faulty
or unclear
pronoun use

(I wish we could stop they running in the hall….or….If you
lose they keys you are going to have to replace them…
or…She is one of the nicest
people that I have ever encountered…or…
.
Me and my friends are going to the
party…or…
I don’t know
who you think you’
re talking to…or…

Even though us Brady boys
are all about winning, we also believe in the importance of sportsmanship…or…Your
sure that you’re wallet is missing?
...or…Their going to take there goldfish back and pu
t
them over they’re by the pool…or…The Pres
ident and his aide knew he was in trouble.

)




Overuse of punctuation

(This is the best concert ever!!!!....or….Why in the world would
you want a fur
-
lined sink?????
)




Its vs. It’s

(It doesn’t matter how mad you are, it’s never a good idea to pick a fight
with
a Werewolf when it’s teeth are sharp. Still, its better to put up a fight if your life is on
the line.
)




Consistently using the p
assive rather than
the
active voice

(The dog was pet by the
boy…or…The report was finished by the team later that week.

It had been checked and
double checked by all the members, and it was considered to be complete
…or….Tears
were cried by the father whose daughter had been lost in the earthquake.
)




Split infinitives

(If you want to expertly learn how to quickly instal
l a computer than you
have to patiently put in the time to really understand it.)




Misplaced modifiers

(On her way home, Maria found
a gold man’s watch….or….The
destroyed boy’s book lay on the desk…or…
We ate the macaroni
that
she had brought
slowly.)




Dangling Participles

(After rotting in the cellar for weeks, Tom’s brother brought up the
crate of apples….or….

The thief ran from the shop keeper, still holding the money in his
hands….Flying south for the winter, I saw a big flock of geese.)




Faulty para
llelism

(She likes t
ennis, soccer and to ski
…or…My bank account is larger
than my brother
…or….There are two ways you get to the top: working hard or have
friends in high places….or….The woman walked down the street, looked in the shop
window and was fixing

her hair….
or…A time not for words, but action
.
)




Using Adjectives for Adverbs

(Sh
e did it about as good as
s
he could….or….He did it so
bad that it was a total failure…or…
His opponent shot the arrow so precise that he
scored a bull’s
-
eye. )




Double
negatives

(I don’t have no money…or….She didn’t do nothing
...or…They don’t
never go out
…or..
.
I couldn’t fine nowhere to put it…She can’t hardly wait for Spring to
come…Because he was so sick, he just merely weighs ninety pounds.
)




Use Graphic Organizers an
d Assistive Technology to
Help Generate and
Organize Thoughts

(Many writers,

old and

young, hate the process of writing an outline. They would much rather
dive right in and write

final draft
. That’s only possible, however, when you know what you want
to
write.
And even then, the product is seldom worth the rush.
Being able to brainstorm and
begin ordering your
ideas is something for which there are technical tools. Many websites
provide free
thought
-
bubble, thought tree, or

thought
-
circle diagrams to he
lp young writers get
organized and get started.
Try

http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

,
http://www.edu
place.com/graphicorganizer/

,

http://www.teachervision.fen.com/graphic
-
organizers/printable/6293.html

,
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Kdn
pD7bruCQ/SWqtw0tUN
MI/AAAAAAAAALM/kUlzcBDcxlE/s400/KWHL.jpg&imgrefurl=http://blog.havefunteaching.com/2
009/01/kwl
-
chart
-
activity.html&h=135&w=175&sz=9&tbnid=68yvMpHGEvvGwM:&tbnh=77&tbnw=100&prev=/se
arch%3Fq%3D%2522KWHL%2BChart%2522%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zo
om=1&q=%22KW
HL+Chart%22&hl=en&usg=__L6BYtmO0T7tRkkys1LEvFzJa1vo=&sa=X&ei=
-
ricTbu3KsnB0QGvoM3bAg&ved=0CC0Q9QEwBg

or
http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/graphic
-
organizers.html

to get you started.

There
are also websites and programs that can take the thoughts within a diagram and turn them into
(voila!) outline form ready to serve as the skeleton of an essay.

Inspiration
www.inspiratio
n.com

is
one of the best of these.
Or go to
http://download.cnet.com/windows/brainstorming
-
and
-
mind
-
mapping
-
software/

or to
http://download.cnet.com/windows/brainstorming
-
and
-
mind
-
mapping
-
software/

to shop around.




Peer
Reviewing and
Editing

(A natural

adjunct to

using writing rubrics is asking young writers to
check each other’s

work
. It’s literally harder to see

the
mecha
nical errors on a page that you
have written, than it is to spot

errors in something that you didn’t write. Of course, agreed upon
rules of respect must be applied

and it’s up to you to provide the rubric. But

w
hen writers
become
truly
comfortable
with
having their writing checked by a peer,
they

can move on to peer
editing where writers actually improve each other’s work by strengthening word choice, adding
transitional sentences, even backing up opinion with evidence.

And if a particular young person

shows special talent for checking and impro
ving the

work of others,

she or he may be an
excellent candidate for editor for any publication or newsletter

that your young people create.
Sample peer editing checklists and forms can be found at
http://go.hrw.com/resources/go_ss/teacher99/toolkit/TOOLKT17.pdf

,
http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson
860/checklist.pdf

,
http://www.timesaversforteachers.com/freeforms/peereditingform.pdf

and
http://www.lessonplanet.com/search?keywords=peer+editing+template&media=worksheets

.)




Expanding Vocabulary Together

(Often vocabulary is thrust upon struggl
ing students.
We send
young people to the thesaurus or dictionary.

Words are r
outinely memorized, used in
sentences, tested with fill
-
in
-
the
-
blanks, but none of it actually
belongs to the young person.
A
fter all that effort
,

the words often remain unincorporated into the young writer’s vocabulary.
For young readers, increasingly c
omplex words are used for decoding meaning. Writers, on the
other hand,
need to begin by finding and owning more specific, descriptive and informative
ways of using the words that they use every day. Within any group of young writers, some in
the group wi
ll have larger v
ocabularies than others. You can ask

a group of young writers to
col
laborate on creating their own
thesaurus that takes general words (e.g. good, bad, cool, big,
important,
happy, sad,
nasty, etc…
) which they often overuse and

lists variou
s alternatives and
which they can then post on the wall and refer to when writing. Similarly, alternatives to the
ubiquitous “then,” which many use almost exclusively to denote sequence or the passing of
time, are also good targets at which young writers

can aim their collective knowledge. And of
course, they can compile a guide that can be passed on to other groups.

Similarly, writers can
make and post their own lists of commonly confused of misspelled words.

For more information
on working with synony
ms and antonyms go to
http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3887

,
http://encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_5615662
16/bad.html

,
http://www.readingresource.net/vocabularyactivities.html

or
http://www.synonym.com/synonyms/grade/
.
)




YOU Make
the Mistakes for a Change



(Young writers spend a lot of time being corrected on
their writing. Turn the tables by having them correct you instead. If writers are working on or
struggling with a specific aspect of grammar or the mechanics of writing, wri
te something up for
them that is filled with errors and then dare them to correct it. This is especially good in a group
setting where it’s the group against you. For maximum effect, acts as though you think that
what you’ve written is perfect and make th
em explain to you why each error is an error and
then grudgingly yield. For the less theatrically inclined, you can make finding the errors an
individual search competition with points given for each error found and
then
debrief with the
entire group on w
hat the errors were at the end.)


KEEPING IT FUN:




Collaborative Writing

(While ultimately our writing has to stand on its own merits, writing with
others can both take
away some of the pressure while also creating a sense of community. One
simple exercis
e requires a group of young writers to be seated around a table


how big or small
depends on whether you want to do large or small group w
ork. Ask each writer

to write a story
title at the top of their individual sheet
s

of paper and below that

the first
sentence or two of the
story


legibly and with attention to readability. Next
, the writers

each pass their story sheets to
the writer on their right side
s, then
add a
sentence or two to the stor
y that has been passed to
them
before passing it to the righ
t once again. Th
is process is repeated until each

story has
made it full circle around the group of yo
ung writers and is back with its original author, who
now has the task of writing a conclusion and the pleasure of reading aloud the collaborative
work t
o the group.


T
his group effort allows more

confident writers to take credit for particular sentences they are
proud of and allows less confident writer
s

that chance to be part of a collective succ
ess. Again
getting agreement around

some kind of code around respect, not growing impatient

with
writers in the group who take more time
, and not “derailing” story lines with explosions,
invasions from Mars, sudden death
s or other unalterable events are all

important to do up
front. Impre
ss upon your writers that b
oth furthering the thread of these very short stories and
helping them evolve believably are challenges they are capable of meeting.

You can even

add
challenges that enhance the focus on mechanics


asking for certain kinds of w
ords, structure,
punctuation or parts
-
of
-
speech to be used during each round of writing. The work can be
extended further by peer checking and editing before reading aloud.

And a selected photograph
can take the place of a title for each story.

For more
infor
mation on collaborative writing

go to
http://www.edb.utexas.edu/cscl/2008/topicpapers/s2paper.pdf

.)




Get the Feel of
Power and
Structure with Debate

--

(They say that if you can talk


you can
write.

Still, many

young writers don’t connect the two.
They may be verbal in the extreme, but
don’t feel that skill will translate to writing. Debate taps the competitive spirit that many young
people share. Wh
en teams work together to build talking points, arguments and counter
-
arguments with note cards for a verbal debate, they’re also
inadvertently
crafting a detailed
outline for a piece of persuasive expository writing. Organizing a team debate on a topic th
at
young people care about and getting the teams to write out their points on note cards in as
much detail as possible and then after the debate asking the teams to tack their notecards in
order on a cork board

can show even the most reluctant writers

that

constructing an argument
is the same whether words are spoken or written. When young people taste the power of
communicating their opinions in debate


they may be more willing to
try their skills out on
paper. A good debate follow
-
up is to use the same

teams to write an argument, assigning each
team member a different point or paragraph to write. They can collaborate on the introduction
and the conclusion of the essay. Remember to encourage young writers to support opinion
statements with fact


wheth
er they’re writing or debating.

For more on debate for young
people go to
http://www.saskdebate.com/pdf/resources/classroom/Grab%20and%20Go%20Debate%20Uni
t.
pdf

,
http://archive.planet
-
science.com/sciteach/debating/pdfs/DS_TeacherGuide.pdf

,

or
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/03/lp304
-
03.shtml

)





Get the Taste of Success with Comic Books

--

(
Young
people who struggle with writing usually

associate it with drudgery and boredom. One way to chip away at the stigma that writing may
have fo
r them is to give them experiences in writing that are anything but boring. While not
many adults associate comic books with writing,
most young people enjoy them. Having the
opportunity to create their own comic books is something that can open the door

to them trying
more writing. Comic book creation also gives you the ability to get young people working in
creative teams


one may be an idea person


another graphically inclined


another good at
dialogue


another good at story
-
telling or narration.

In the end, however, they will have a
written product of which they all can take ownership.

For a free pre
-
fab comic website, try
www.makebeliefscomix.com


or learn more about creating comics at
http://comicbooks.about.com/od/creatingcomicbooks/tp/ccb101.htm

.
)




Making Meaning through Music



(Music is a big part of youth culture. So why not leverage it
in working on writing. There are of course the time
-
tested strategies of creative writing inspired
by music and expository writing about music, but why not go directly to the source and see
what
it has to offer. Hip
-
Hop lyrics contain some of the most meaningful and verbally adept writing
on the planet.
Not only is examining what makes them work and communicate a worthy
exploration for young writers. Using Hip
-
Hop itself to reinforce writi
ng rules and concepts has
become an increasingly popular tool, both with instructors and their students. To learn more
you can check out programs like
http://www.flocabulary.com/

,

www.edlyrics.com

,
http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~jcooks/hiphopcircuit/teachersup.htm

,
http://hiphopintheclass.com/

,

http://justthink.org/2010/11/06/flipping
-
the
-
script/

and
http://www.educationalrap.com/

.)




Dramatic Writing Gets a Foot in the Door

(The demanding c
onventions of English grammar and
usage are more evident in expository writing than in creative writing. Within creative writing
itself, sustaining a story narrative can also be intimidating to struggling writers. Similarly, poetry
can be
sufficiently
ab
s
tract, spare and unusual to
meet resistance

as well
. Writ
ing dialogue,
however, shows perhaps most clearly that

speaking=wri
ting
and can be the least intimidating
place to start with a young person who is truly terrified to put thoughts to paper.
It can
be good
to read a simple scene aloud before beginning work


discussing what goes into writing a play
Nor do characters have to be limited to human beings, especially for younger writers. Emotions,
objects of nature, animals, or superheroes are all fair ga
me.

For older writers, using a current
news story of interest, or past event of interest can connect dramatic writing to research.
Characters from different time periods can interact. Writing and reading scenes provides
practice in writing, speaking and r
evision, if second drafts are done after an initial reading.
[for
a complete guide to this process see the book, “Playmaking” by Daniel Judah Sklar
http://www.amazon.com/P
laymaking
-
Daniel
-
Judah
-
Sklar/dp/0915924358

. For other youth
playwriting sites go to
http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/hs_lesson10

]




Write something fun every day

(The only real way to get better at writing is to practice. If you
can get young people writing short pieces that engage them on a regular basis, you have a much
better shot at turning the tide of their attitude about writing when it comes to something m
ore
serious and compulsory. Things like instructions on how
-
to
-
do something they’re good at, love
letters, funny insults, poems, music reviews, song lyrics, political speeches, complaints,
affirmations, recipes, journal entries, words of wisdom, letters to

their younger selves, jokes,
riddles, etc….are all writing tasks of varied length that may not seem like tasks, especially if
young people get to read their work aloud, add it to a personal portfolio, or publish it for a wider
audience. Stay away from ti
red, old writing prompts that they may associate with traditional
expository writing.

For more resources on fun writing activities you can go to
http://www.thinkfinity.org/?q=home

,
http://pages.uoregon.edu/leslieob/pizzaz.html

,
http://languageisavirus.com/writing
-
games.html

,
http://www.education.com/activity/writing/

,
http://www.scribd.com/doc/55697/501
-
Writing
-
Prompts


or
http://ww
w.ilovethatteachingidea.com/ideas/subj_writing.htm

)




Bring It Back to THEM

(Young people’s favorite topic has always been themselves and their
culture. Yet more often than not, adults force them to write about older people’s concerns,
lives and situati
ons. While writing a flat
-
out autobiography may be intimidating, writing about
themselves will almost always be appealing. Leverage this healthy narcissism and personal
exploration. Whether it’s putting themselves into someone else’s shoes and writing wh
at they’d
do….or telling how they found out there wasn’t a tooth fairy….or describing their dream
vacations…or
illuminating their neighborhood….keeping it about them can make it more
attractive.

And if their personal lives are too close to home, writing a
bout an aspect of youth
style, values or culture is usually safer ground, especially when put in c
ontrast to that of adults.
If
f you do go the extra mile to write essays, don’t be afraid to make the writing prompts
outside
-
the
-
box,
outrageous and ente
rtai
ning. A persuasive essay responding to the prompt,

“Why should 10
-
y
ear
-
olds be allowed to drive?”
may be much easier to dive into than “What
qualities make a good leader?
”)