#1.) Multi-Colored Lined Paper
The idea of using multi-colored paper was something I started using YEARS ago when I was teaching 1st grade writer's workshop. The idea that students are writing in the white areas and only editing and revising in the grey areas provide an AWESOME visual for students. This paper is available in my Informational Writing Unit but I have also provided it for free here, for you!
I know I am guilty of writer's block sometimes and get SICK of looking at the same piece of writing! Sometimes it benefits students to take a break from the writing piece they are working on for a few days (or even a few WEEKS) before revising, editing, AND publishing!! This way, students feel revamped and refreshed when they come back to their writing and can often improve it even more!!!
#3.) A SHARP Pencil
I can NOT tell you how many times I have walked around while my students are writing and I see stubby pencils! I always have the pencil sharpener open during writing time and remind students to visit it. It is amazing how much neater a student's writing can look with a sharp pencil!
#4.) Word Lists
I am constantly telling my students to make friends with the thesaurus!!! However, I was glancing at the thesaurus the other day and there were a few problems.
Problem #1) Not all words that you look up are in the thesaurus!!
Problem #2) Not all of the words that are listed would make sense in the context of the student's writing. SO, often kids use words because they find them in the thesaurus, but in all actuality, the word makes NO sense in that particular sentence!
My solution? A few years ago, I made this sheet called SYNONYM TRAINS. Students can use this tool to get some unique vocabulary into their writing!
#5.) Putting ALL of the student's work UP!
I know more than ANYONE that this can be extremely difficult to get everyone's work published and up BUT student's genuinely feel good about seeing their teacher post their work AND I think they are more motivated to do the next assignment.
Do you have any helpful strategies for improving student's writing?