Blog | Create Self-Sufficient Storytellers With These Independent Writing Tips
Create Self-Sufficient Storytellers With These Independent Writing Tips
Do your pupils lack the confidence to write independently? Do they daydream and distract each other, instead of getting their heads down to devise their first masterpiece?
You are not alone!
If your class struggles to write a sentence, let alone a story, without asking for composition ideas and grammar tips, you might be wrestling to get any real creative flair out of your classroom. After all, how can the children scribe something special when they’ve been waving their hand to get your attention for the last fifteen minutes?
It’s not about giving teachers a break, of course. Independent pupils concentrate better and see quicker progress, as they aren’t constantly asking – or waiting – for help.
Independent writing will soon lead to independent, confident study skills in the years that follow, where children can use their initiative to explore ideas with ease; a valuable, lifelong skill.
Here’s our top five tips to turn a page and encourage independent writing in your classroom.
1. It’s Good to Talk
Before starting a writing task, you of course need to make sure the instructions are understood; nobody expects a child to excel in something that they don’t understand.
However, by having a conversation before the task starts, children can practice the vocabulary and concepts required to fully understand the instructions – and not need to constantly ask questions to reassure themselves once the task starts.
2. Wall Displays Are A Class Act
… but there’s a few elements to consider before you start if you’re going to make the most of them!
When wall displays are impressively busy, it might give you bragging rights in the staff room – but arguably, the children are likely to become blind to its detail when they see it every day. If the display just cropped up overnight, as opposed to being introduced and explained, they’re also unlikely to reference it during their day-to-day learning; they simply won’t digest its purpose.
It may involve letting go of some of the creative direction, but centring displays around a class project and the children’s own contributions will give meaning to the feature. At the very least, displays should be talked through as a class, so the children not only know why it’s there, but when it might help to look at it.
3. Keep Distractions to A Minimum
Children love to feel like grown-ups, so why not make them ‘the boss’ with their own desk signs?
Creating ‘do not disturb’ notices will help them avoid distractions from other children, when needed; just whip them out when it’s time to get to work.
“Can’t chat – I’m writing my best ever story!”
4. Provide Background Knowledge
Learning about a specific topic will mean that children always have something to write about, which they also understand and hopefully feel more enthusiastic about.
For example, if the class have been learning about earth and space, try an independent writing task about going on holiday to the moon; you’ll have already sparked their imagination during science lessons, so it’ll be less of a struggle to get started during literacy time.
5. Instil a Familiar Drafting Process
If the children know that their first drafts are never expected to be read aloud or hung on the wall, they’ll be more eager to go with the flow. They don’t need to be spot on, so just encourage getting ideas on paper; they can be fine-tuned and turned into something worthy of celebration later.
Confidence will be inspired, and independent creativity will become a habit before you know it!