Making Writing Exciting
Writing is one of those subjects kids can either really dedicate time to or fly through. When I taught, I tried to dedicate as much time to writing as I could as it is an enjoyable process, and I think kids really need both a creative outlet and the guidance to become good writers.
In my class, we wrote as much as we could. Whether it be journal entries, responses to literature or class activities, seasonal books, or class books, we were always writing. A few times a year, I focused on BIG writing projects. Sometimes these projects came from a response to a journal topic or whatever the child chose. We'd then go through the writing process: rough draft, editing, revision, peer editing, revision, and finally publishing.
Publishing is big deal to me because I really like for the kids to take home some great keepsakes of their work. One way I published was to divide up a child's story by pages; then, let students copy their story over on lined paper. For each page, they illustrated a picture to go with it. Then, they also created a cover for their book. I often had them create a back page too with their grade and year. The pages were then laminated and bundled together to make a great book!
I often scanned a student's book and put them together in a movie slideshow using Microsoft PhotoStory. It's a free, very user-friendly program. Many schools already have it on their computers, but if not, it's a quick, easy download. (Download here!) I just put the photos in order, let the child record themselves reading their story, added music, and then burnt it to a CD. Not only did they get to take home their book and a "movie" of their book, sometimes their "movies" were played during our morning broadcast on TV for the entire school to see! The kids absolutely love watching their classmates' movies, and it really gets them excited about their writing!
Just a little sidenote: The pictures in this post are from a book a former student made. She loved making her first book in class so much, one morning she brought me this story she wrote at home about her trip to Disney World. She wanted to make another book! I'd loved it so much, we worked on it together for at least a week during any free time to make it happen! That's what it's all about anyway.