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Writing to The End !. Tips to Improve Student Writing By Jeff Helming. During this presentation you will learn tips to…. Improve student motivation. D ifferentiate for your students. I ncorporate technology. A Quick Review…. The Writer’s Workshop Model.

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writing to the end

WritingtoThe End!

Tips to Improve

Student Writing

By Jeff Helming

during this presentation you will learn tips to
During this presentation you will learn tips to…
  • Improve student motivation.
  • Differentiate for your students.
  • Incorporate technology.
the writer s workshop model
The Writer’s Workshop Model
  • Writer’s Workshop is a differentiated method of teaching writing.
  • Basic components
    • Mini-lesson
    • Independent writing time
    • Teacher/student conferencing
    • Sharing
  • Here is a great slideshow about the basics of Writer’s Workshop and why it should be used.
teacher enthusiasm is key it all starts with the teacher
Teacher Enthusiasm Is KEYIt all starts with the teacher!
  • Students are motivated when their teachers are!
  • You do not have to be a good writer to be a good writing teacher.
  • You do not have to love everything about writing to be a good writing teacher.
  • You do have to show genuine enthusiasm.
tip draw upon childhood experiences when composing your own writing
TIPDraw upon childhood experiences when composing your own writing!
  • Children love stories about their teachers making the same mistakes they do!
  • Write about: favorite toys from your youth, the first time attempting something new, or other childhood memories.
  • Students also love stories about their teacher’s children!
mini lessons
  • Aside from basic writing strategies, focus mini-lessons on prewriting strategies such as planning stories and getting ideas.
  • Students need to hear as many good examples of writing as possible:
    • Stories by other students
    • Short stories by authors
    • Your own short stories

Want something different? How about Celebrities reading stories to your students?

Storyline Online

prewriting strategies
Prewriting Strategies

Prewriting Strategies

Why these work

Give authors time to plan out their stories.

Helps to break down the task for struggling writers.

Meets the needs of a variety of learning styles.

  • Graphic organizers
  • Drawing
  • Talking with a partner or group
  • Acting our story actions

Links to graphic organizers


Education Place

tip collect and copy examples of good student writing and share it often
TIPCollect and copy examples of good student writing and share it often!
  • Students are motivated by hearing strong pieces written by writers their own age.
  • Promotes an ‘I can do that too!’ attitude.
  • Student writing can be referred to as examples of good traits or memorable techniques.
  • Authentic student writing can be used for revision and editing mini-lessons.
independent writing time
Independent Writing Time
  • Choice!! Students are more engaged when they choose what they are writing about.
  • While students write, the teacher can conference with students or, on occasion, model independent writing.
  • A little BUZZ is okay – Students can talk as long as they are talking about writing and making progress on their pieces.
tip have students write their drafts on loose paper rather than in notebooks
TIPHave students write their drafts on loose paper rather than in notebooks.
  • Students are more productive.
  • It is easier for students to manipulate the story and spread it out.
  • Use a folder to keep finished and unfinished writing organized.
  • Keep conferences positive.
  • Listen carefully when a student reads his or her piece to you.
  • Express the feelings the piece makes you have (ex. laugh when funny).
  • Begin with positives.
  • Give the student ONE thing to fix – Don’t be picky and point out every mistake!

Joanne Portalupi and Ralph Fletcher share their thoughts on positive conferencing in this short clip.

tip c onference at the student s desk
TIPConference at the student’s desk.
  • This is less disruptive.
  • Nearby students benefit from overhearing the conference.
  • You can see if a student is is really ‘cooking’ and shouldn’t be interrupted.

Here’s a video about how students should not peer review.

Are you a “Picky Patty” when you conference with students? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBuq4qgRhCc&feature=related

writing partnerships
Writing Partnerships

Writing Partnerships

Why it works

Promotes collaboration and positive interaction.

Students do not have to wait for the teacher.

Authentic practice editing and revising.

  • Partners should be carefully chosen and rarely changed.
  • Pair students based on:
    • similar ability
    • interest
  • These partners should meet regularly, at least once to twice a month, to share and edit/revise each other’s pieces.

This is a great article about setting it up:

Hsu, C. (2009). Writing Partnerships. Reading Teacher, v63 n2, 153-158.

doi: 10.1598/RT.63.2.6

  • Student and teacher feedback should be both positive and constructive.
  • Choose students who you conferenced with so that you can…
    • Share comments from the conference with the entire class.
    • Highlight the strengths of a student’s piece.
    • Choose students who attempted a strategy taught in the mini-lesson.
  • Pieces do not need to be finished to be shared.
tip provide a powerful purpose for writing by finding exciting uses for it
TIPProvide a powerful purpose for writing by finding exciting uses for it.
  • Find an audience for student writing by inviting family members or peers.
  • Publish student writing on a website.
  • Encourage entries into local and national writing contests.
  • Create your own classroom or grade level writing contest.
publishing and celebrating
Publishing and Celebrating

Ways to Publish

Ways to Celebrate

Publishing party!

Invite guests into the room:

Family members




  • Type it on the computer.
  • Rewrite as a hardcover or mini-book.
  • Publish on a website.
  • Use an online site to create a soft or hardcover book.
tip take advantage of technology to motivate student writers
TIPTake advantage of technology to motivate student writers.

Sites to write and/or publish student writing. Click on them and check them out.

  • Kids’ Space
  • Kidpub
  • Storybird
  • TikaTok
resources check out these sites
Resources – Check out these sites!
  • http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/index.html
  • http://hill.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/
  • http://www.mguhlin.org/2010/07/5-steps-to-digitizing-writing-workshop.html
  • http://www.barebooks.com/
  • http://www.mandygregory.com/StartingWritersWorkshop.htm
  • http://www.jmeacham.com/writers.workshop/writing.mini.lessons.htm
  • http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/classmags/storyworks.htm
resources check out these books
Resources – Check out these books!

Books for Teachers

Books for Students

Author: A True Story by Helen Lester

What Do Authors Do? by Eileen Christelow

Arthur Writes A Story by Marc Brown

Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli

  • Craft Lessons by Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi
  • Writing Workshop by Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi
  • Notebook Know-How by Aimee Buckner
  • Writing Through Childhood: Rethinking Process and Product by Shelley Harwayne
  • How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms by Carol Ann Tomlinson
  • The Art of Teaching Writing by Lucy Calkins
final tip remember to keep writing enjoyable for both you and your students
FINAL TIPRemember to keep writing enjoyable for both you and your students!

Please stop by my new wiki: The Writing Spot

Or you can check out my blog of the same name and leave your


Thank you for Reading to

The End !!!