Creative Ways to Encourage Students to Write

Notebook with blank page and two crumpled up pieces of paper on top of it with a pen, image used for Robert Peters blog on creative ways to motivate students to write

One of the most difficult challenges educators face is encouraging students to write. Whether it’s writing in class or at home, most students just do not enjoy the prospect of writing, especially if it’s for an assignment. However, writing is a vital skill for the real world and being able to communicate through writing is an incredibly valuable trait. Even if you can’t motivate students to write in class, but they do decide to write on topics unrelated to classwork, you’re helping their education because studies show that any form of writing can improve overall writing skill.

Use relevant writing prompts

Kids feel more motivated to write if they can relate to the prompt. If they are interested in the topic they’re writing about, they’ll enjoy the writing more. Make the topics about hobbies, local events, or their families and friends. When the topics are something they feel a connection to, your students will put more effort and detail into their writing and actually be interested in what they’re writing about. Depending how old the students are, you can have them debate issues they feel strongly about, such as a school dress code or local community issue.

Encourage them to share

For most students, they enjoy being able to share their work with one another, their teacher, or even their families. Encourage sharing because it’ll motivate them to write better and actually listen to the input they receive from others on their writing. However, if a student is really shy and reluctant to share, do not force them to read their writing out loud or show it to another student. Ask if you can see it and give them your feedback or even encourage them to write for themselves without sharing their work with others.

Teach them anyone can write

The problem most students face is that they do not believe they can actually be talented writers. They’ve either never been told their writing is good, believe it’s not something they can learn, or have never been given instruction on how to write. Give your students examples of great writers who met failure time and time again or teach them simple tricks to improve their writing.

Do not demand perfection

Writing can be daunting for students because they believe what they write should be flawless for it to be considered “good.” Teach your students it’s okay to make mistakes and they can always ask for advice or input on their writing. If their grammar or plot development isn’t perfect, gently offer them advice on how to improve, but also look for aspects to compliment so they don’t feel discouraged.

Celebrate their writing

Any student likes compliments and receiving positive attention. Find something in each student’s work to celebrate and show them that they’re making progress. It’s important to offer constructive feedback, but it’s also vital that you avoid giving a student the impression their writing is bad and cannot be improved.
Check out even more ways to inspire students in their writing!

How to Keep Students Motivated During Winter

Blog post title image about keeping students motivated during winter.

Winter is a particularly difficult time to keep students motivated. After the holidays, the colder months of January and February set in and there’s no break in sight until sometime in spring. It’s hard to get students to focus at this time of year, especially when trying to prepare them for state tests and finals in their classes. Instead of stressing out over your students’ lack of desire to learn, try these tips to keep them motivated in the upcoming months!

Remain Positive

Even though you may not feel like coming into work every day, it’s important that you remain upbeat for the students who you’ll be teaching. Show them a positive attitude and act excited about what you’re talking about, but you can also acknowledge that you know it’s a tough time of year to focus on learning. Give them positive reinforcement when they do something well and try to make them feel good about their work.

Give Rewards

By occasionally rewarding your students, you’ll motivate them to continue working and doing a good job in their studies. Maybe offer candy or a small prize for reaching certain goals. You can also give them a movie day or a specific amount of time where they can talk and hang out instead of focusing on an actual lesson. Rewarding students gives them a much-needed break.

Watch Films

Students find it much easier to spend time looking at a screen and visually absorbing information instead of having to listen to their teacher lecture. Most children can recount endless amounts of information and quotes from their favorite movies or television shows, so you know those skills are developed. Incorporate educational documentaries into your lessons and students will learn more and feel more at ease. Tailoring your lesson plans to the season will help you combat the lack of motivation in students.

Let Them Decide

When students have the opportunity to be hands-on with their own learning, they’ll be more invested in the subject. You can give students a list of topics that need to be covered during the next few weeks and let them choose in which order they want to learn about them. Provide opportunities for them to be involved in their own learning – they’ll be thankful for it and more motivated.

Change it up!

Some variety is always a good thing because students’ brains will immediately recognize the change and register it. Switch around the desk arrangement or redecorate the classroom. Give students something different and they’ll feel as though it’s an entirely new experience, not the same class they’ve been in for the last few months. Providing students with variation will prevent them from feeling bored and helps them give their attention to your teaching.

Motivation: Exciting Students to Succeed

Motivation is something every educator struggles with at least a few times in their career. The real questions is, when you are faced with this problem. How to you combat it? How can we as teachers avoid this rut and excite our students into learning and engaging with the lessons of that particular day? We need to look to involve our students in the learning process more. Here’s a few ways to do this:

Give students the power to decide

By giving students options, they will pick things they are most willing to do and therefore, what they will be the most engaged with. I am not suggesting a free for all, but rather the option to pick between reading assignments or even pick specific topics of interest for them to study. Giving students choices also makes them feel like they have more of a hand in their education. Plus, if you give them choices, they may even feel more accountable for them!

Provide them with your own real-world experiences

Take time to think of personal or relatable real world experiences based on lessons. Relating what you are trying to teach with what is going on around students will help them make the connections to remember what you are teaching. They may also think more about a topic if they run into a similar situation outside of the classroom.

Open their minds to the outside world

Get students excited to engage with these topics outside of the classroom. Provide homework assignments that allow them to interact with their own world in a way that will excite them. Making work seem like fun to students will be the easiest way to get them engaged. You can have them write a character evaluation of a favorite video game character, have them help with budgeting a grocery shop, or even have students interview a family member and write a report based off the interview. Taking this interactive approach will have your students working diligently without feeling like they are doing an assignment.

Be flexible

Every year, every class, and every student will interact with your lessons a different way. Be open to this. Not every lesson will be a hit, but a less than exciting lesson will give you the opportunity to rework it and engage the whole class. Be patient and willing to make tweaks when needed. The more flexible you are, the more you’ll be able to tailor lessons to individual classes and students.

Exciting your students will be harder some days than others, but seeing you class light up at the idea of making their own choices or being engaged with an awesome lesson will be extremely rewarding. Your students will thank you and their test scores will reflect it.