Looking for some fun ways to motivate students to write? Sure, getting upper elementary students to write can be a bit of a challenge, but with some creative approaches, you can make it a fun and engaging experience.
Here are 20 ways to motivate students to write:
1.Choice and Variety: Let students choose what they want to write about. Whether it’s a story, a poem, a journal, or a comic, variety keeps things interesting.
2. Story Starters: Provide intriguing story starters or prompts that spark their imagination. Starters like “One day, in a land of talking animals…” or “It was a dark, cloudy day, and Mya felt a sense of mystery in the air.” are a great start! You can find tons of great writing prompts and story starters inside my Year-Long Writing Prompts Bundle.
3. Personal Journals: Encourage them to keep a personal journal where they can write about their daily experiences, thoughts, and feelings. This is a great way to motivate students to write about things that are important to them.
4. Author Visits: Invite local authors or writers to share their experiences and read from their books. It can be inspiring for upper elementary students to see real-life authors and hear of their experiences as writers.
5. Writing Games: Turn writing into a game. Try storytelling dice, where they roll dice with different story elements to include in their writing. For example, list and number 6 different settings, 6 different characters, and 6 different problems (conflicts). Have a student roll a number and circle that number of setting. Then repeat for a main character and a problem. Using those elements, write a short story. So fun!
6. Pen Pals: Connect students with pen pals from other schools or even countries. Writing to a real audience can be motivating, and your students just might make a life-long friend!
7. Writing Buddies: Pair students up as writing buddies. They can brainstorm ideas together, share drafts, and provide feedback. Writing becomes a social activity.
8. Writing Clubs: Start a writing club where students can share and discuss their work, giving them a sense of community and feedback. The community factor can really be helpful when trying to motivate students to write!
9. Competitions: Encourage your students to enter writing contests or challenges. Winning a prize or even becoming published can be amazing motivators.
10. Author Study: Pick a popular author and have the class read and discuss their work. Then, challenge them to write a short story in that author’s style.
11. Themed Writing: Tie writing assignments to current events, holidays, or topics of personal interest. It can definitely make writing more fun and relevant. Check out this blog post for more ideas.
12. Publishing Opportunities: Create a class book or a blog where students’ work is published. Being published and recognized helps gives students a sense of accomplishment.
13. Outdoors Writing: Take the class outside and have them write about what they see, hear, and experience in nature. Guide them through this exercise by asking them to close their eyes and listen first. Then, with eyes open, have them write down all the details.
14. Mystery Stories: Introduce the concept of mystery writing. Have them create their own mysteries with clues, suspects, and solutions. It’s like being a detective in their own stories!.
15. Guest Speakers: Bring in guest speakers who use writing in their professions, like journalists, marketers, screenwriters, or poets. Have students prepare questions in advance.
16. Visual Inspiration: Show students interesting pictures, videos, or artwork to trigger their creativity. Ask them to write about what they see.
17. Writing Challenges: Set up fun writing challenges, like writing a story in exactly 50 words, creating a poem in a short time frame, or writing without using the letter ‘e’.
18. Show and Tell: Allow students to read their work aloud to the class. Give them time in advance to prepare and practice.
19. Class Blog: Maintain a class blog where students can post their work and get comments from a wider audience.
20. Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate students’ writing achievements, no matter how small. A little praise can go a long way.
Ready-to-Go Writing Prompts and Activities
Remember, the key is to make writing a fun and enjoyable activity, not just a classroom chore. When students find joy in writing, motivation naturally follows.