The 2015 theme for the National Council of Teachers of English’s National Day on Writing is #WhyIWrite. We all write for different reasons, whether journaling for personal reflection; researching topics of interest; gathering information to inform or persuade others; sharing personal perspectives through stories of our lives, families, and communities, and more. The following resources provide lesson plans and strategies you can use to inspire your students to become life-long writers.
Elementary School Resources
Teach students to identify writing modes that best fit their ideas, and allow them to choose topics, like their community, that have personal meaning. See Inside Writing Communities, Grades 3-5, workshop 2, “Reasons for Writing.”
Teach young students how to respond meaningfully to their peers work and provide an authentic audience experience. See Inside Writing Communities, “Conversations Among Writing Peers.”
Middle and High School Resources
Middle school students are often focused on themselves, and the self can be a great starting point for motivating students to write. Teachers in Write in the Middle: A Workshop for Middle School Teachers, workshop 2, “Making Writing Meaningful,” start by encouraging students to share their personal stories in writing. Gradually, students expand their writing to reflect how forces in their communities impact them. See them in action here.
Have you wanted to try a multigenre project with your high school students but not sure how to start? After studying various examples (a list is included in the resource), allow students to create a multigenre piece around the theme of community. Go to Developing Writers, workshop 4, “Different Purposes.”
Hear famous authors like Leslie Marmon Silko, Ernest Gaines, and J. K. Rowling discuss where their inspiration comes from in In Search of the Novel, “Authors Notes: Part III.”
Share four videos from Reading & Writing in the Disciplines with students to show how professionals use writing in their specific fields. Hear from an epidemiologist, a biotech startup, a documentary filmmaker, and a sports journalist.
How are you helping students develop purpose in their writing?