Writers Block: It’s a problem for adults, and children alike.
Ever had a student tell you they don’t know what to write about? Actually it’s not usually that they tell you. They start acting fidgety, whine at you, or even misbehave during writing time. Worst of all sometimes they simply choose to give up entirely (“Can I just miss recess today?”). Oh yeah, I know you have been there…. I have too.
Last week I was supposed to blog about creative writing ideas for the classroom. Even though I teach my students to write, and help them when they have writer’s block, I just could not wrap my mind around how to begin this post. Yes I see the irony…hilariously I had writer’s block myself. I got fidgety, whiny and I misbehaved by not doing my work. Eventually, I decided to be self-reflective and realize that I was being just like my students, which got me to thinking about what I have students do in my classroom when they can’t get started on writing. I thought I would share some of these tips with you.
How you set up your writing time is key to helping students with writer’s block. While many writing programs insist that all writing topics come from the student themselves, they will eventually have to write to a prompt for a test, so it is a good idea to have a balanced approach to where their writing topics come from.
1) Students can make personal lists of things they would like to write about. My students fill out a chart like this one at the start of every month which they can refer to during writer’s workshop if they need a new topic to start from:
2) Have students use a favorite story as a starting point. Students can write a new ending, change the characters, or setting, or write about what it would be like if one morning and they woke up in the middle of that story.
3) Cut out interesting pictures from magazines (minus the text if you can), laminate, and place in a center. Students can grab a picture and write a story about it.
4) Let them doodle. No matter what your age, doodling can be relaxing and help you to focus. Plus what ever you are drawing becomes a setting, or characters for a story.
A friend pointed out this fascinating news article to me on another really great benefit of doodling for students: Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick
5) Give a prompt. I know it is taboo in some writing programs, but they are going to have to write to a prompt on almost every important test they will ever take in life (think SAT). It is good to know how to write about an assigned topic. You can grab an idea off one of your student’s writing idea’s sheets from a previous month, come up with one on your own, or purchase a prompt set on TPT, TN, or similar.
Teach Grade 2? I have these sets up in my TPT shop : Fall Writing Prompts Pack BUNDLE Winter Writing Prompts Pack BUNDLE
Battling Writer’s block can be as hard on kids as grownups. Having a variety of options available to them can be a very effective way to reach beyond writer’s block and into great writing.