Friday, August 26, 2011

Make Writing Fun - Guest Post

I welcome a guest to the blog today who has some exciting ideas to share about making writing fun for kids. Read a little about Jackie:

 I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, while my parents were going to university to become school teachers. I come from a long line of teachers that started with my grandmother, Josie. This is my 21st year of teaching. I graduated from the University of Alberta and have since taught all elementary grades except grade one. This year I'm teaching - you guessed it - grade one!!! It will be a learning experience. I love learning new things every year and I love to read fabulous stories that my students write! In my spare time, when I have any, I like to read, scrapbook, quilt, spend time with my family and sail the high seas on our sailboat - the SunHunter.

My blog is if you'd like to check it out. I add tips, tricks and  favorites to the site.

Make Writing Fun
by Jackie Wilkinson

Teaching writing is one of my favourite things to do. Over the years I’ve found a few interesting activities for children to have some fun with writing activities. Here are some of my favourites to use in a classroom or adapt for home:

• RAFTS - Rafts give the kids choices in what they will write about. You can have them choose the Role, Audience, Format of the writing and the Topic. To make a RAFT easier for younger children, you can have them choose what row they would like to write about. For older children, you can have them pick and choose from the various rows. Giving children choices helps them to feel like they had a decision in their writing and lets them take ownership for it - instead of just being given another boring assignment to write about.

Fairy Tale Raft

• Tic-Tac-Toes - this is another choice activity. The children choose what row they would like to work on, or if you choose, you can have them choose any 3, 4 or 5 activities depending on the age or skill level of the child.

Fairy and Folk Tale Tic-Tac-Toe Board

• Cube Its - yet another choice activity - here the kids roll a cube with the activities on it and they can choose their favorite activity out of as many rolls as you, the teacher, choose - give them a choice of 2 or 3 rolls. You can even have a huge class size poster made up with the activities and let them roll die instead - less work for you.

Fairy Tale Cube-It

More Ideas

• Online Writing - give these a try:,, ... There are many great online writing activity sites for your kids to try out - you just have to check them out yourself!

• Story Writing Programs - one that I enjoy is called Books By You from Scholastic.

• CopyCat Books - have the kids read a book and write their own similar tale - great books to use are the Black Lagoon books by Mike Thaller, My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems, any of the books by Helen Lester or Keiko Kasza. There are so many quality picture books that you can use for this activity. Choose fun books that make the children laugh and have great story ideas they can springboard from.

• Use photos from their lives - do they have an interesting picture at home that they'd like to write a story or descriptive paragraph about? You can also use pictures from the internet that they would like to write about. has some interesting pictures that you can use as prompts for the children to choose from.

• Pick a Prompt - have 3 baskets, bags or whatever you choose to organize your prompts in the following categories: Setting, Characters and Problem. Write various, interesting settings, characters and story problems on cards that they can choose to create an interesting story.

• Role Play - have the children act out their story with puppets or role play it with partners and then write.

• Draw it - kids love to draw - have them draw their story ideas out first and then write.

• Publishing their own books - make mini books, flap books with their writing and illustrations. Here's a website that shows you how to make some of these fun books with kids:

• Contest Writing - writing for a contest that could win a child a prize may be fun!
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