How can I get my students excited about writing?
Of course we all have those students who are naturally motivated writers, however we also all have those handful of kids that are…not. I remember discussing this with my husband and he said that story writing was what he disliked most about school. He could never think of anything to write about so it ended up a painful process for him. Yes, we can give picture prompts and sentence starters and have brainstorming sessions and provide graphic organizers to help out, but I still ended up frustrated because I felt like I was constantly nagging some students to write.
Then, in February, I went to Google Summit in Edmonton. One of the sessions I went to was a YouTube in the Classroom presentation (Jim Sill). It really got me to thinking about the impact video can make not only in terms of student creativity but in motivation and ideas. I’ve used video several times these last few months to accompany writing projects (student blogs, story writing, journal writing, etc.) and it has absolutely made a difference in the quality of our writing. The students seem to get much more excited to capture their visual images onto paper. They have more schema to use their descriptive words and ideas and they are more open to write them down. Their work sounds more natural and their voice comes through much more clearly.
Here is a video that I was introduced to at that YouTube session. I showed it to my students to kickstart strong story ideas. They were so excited to not only get writing, but to share their stories when they were complete. For some, this was one of the first times they’d felt success and pride for their written work. We all loved this project, and I definitely attribute much of it’s sucess to the use of a great and purposeful video.