Sunday, January 20, 2013

Writing Ideas: Ways to Get Them to Be Excited About It!

Getting students to try to do their best with writing in kindergarten can be so difficult. I like to try varied ways to get them interested in the process. We integrate the Slingerland method of writing which helps children and adults that have certain language disabilities learn how to read, spell, and properly write. We do large arm writing for each letter in the air and progress to writing each letter on large 11 x 17 paper. The letter on the 11 X 17 paper is written in 3 "windows" (the paper is divided into three windows by folding it into thirds). The first window has the letter written in crayon by the teacher so that the student can feel the crayon as the student traces the letter. The student then writes the letter over the crayon with a pencil three times. The student then writes the same letter in the middle window and the same letter in the last window.

I then call students up to the board and let them draw the large letter on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. (They love to do anything that the teacher usually does). 

We then progress to writing the letter on our Saxon phonics worksheets (small). However, I always have a number of students who can benefit from a more focused practice time with writing. How do you get students to practice writing who may struggle with dysgraphia (difficulty with writing) or just hate the writing process altogether? Try something new!!

I saw these single line write and wipe off boards at Lakeshore Learning. 

These are perfect because there are only three lines for the students to refer at the top, red at the bottom, and lined in the middle. I put them in a center and placed these letter lines with them. I explained that the students could use them when they finished their classwork to write, letter, their names, and words from around the room. Let me tell you, they were MOTIVATED!!! Click on the pictures above to see how you can order a set if you like. They are slightly cheaper when bought in sets of 10.

Another fun thing I introduced to make writing fun was these gel boards found at

The pens have a magnetic tip and work best when you write LIGHTLY on the board. Over time, the board (with the squishy gel inside) does scratch. However, I have had mine for about 5 years now and they are still pretty good. The students love them. The white pen has a thinner tip than the red pen. The white pen has a hard plastic ball at the end that you can use to push the gel aside to "wipe" off your board. The red pen has a dry-eraser material that I do not care for as it comes off in tufts. You can actually just use your hand to push the gel aside. These boards come in lined or unlined. They also come in graph paper style and multiplication tables as well. The students love to write with these as well. At times, I hand these out to use as whole class informal assessments for them to write answers on and they hold them up so I can instantly see who gets a concept and who doesn't. Click on the picture above to see how you can order a set if you are interested in these.

Greg Smedley, one of my absolutely favorite blog writers also gives some great ideas for how to get kids excited about writing through the use of a ticket system for buying cool pens in his class. Click on his name to read the post about it. Click on his button above to follow all of his really great ideas. He really is a huge resource of great ideas for all elementary teachers.

Enjoy the ideas!

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