The secret to teaching middle school writing
Middle school writing is an experience like no other, for both the students and their teachers.
Teaching middle school writing can be one of the most rewarding experiences you might have, and if you incorporate some of these strategies, your students will find it equally rewarding.
As Ryan Tahmaseb has discovered, middle school students are “full of imagination and creativity.” This makes the middle school grades the best time for teaching students the writing skills they need. Students in middle school are often more adventurous in trying new writing strategies than at any other time in their lives.
Middle school writing strategies like these will help you develop the writers you know your students can be.
Engage both sides of the brain
Writing can seem like a one-sided analytical task to your students.
Offer your students creative ways, such as graphic organizers, to think about their writing. Graphic organizers help students see organizational patterns, and the graphic structures have words and phrases for additional support.
The idea is to immerse your students in the language they need for writing while providing visuals. Display their completed graphic organizers and keep words lists handy for students.
Every classroom has a Lowry, Rowling, or Riordan
Middle school students like to try their hand at a variety of writing styles, so let them model their sentences after the ones written by their favorite authors.
The goal is to mimic writing styles. Imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, but it also teaches students about grammatical structures within sentences. As an added bonus, your students get to visit some of their favorite texts.
Write for a variety of purposes
By focusing exclusively on essay-writing, you’re limiting what your students can do with their writing skills. Hands-on writing techniques are especially effective for the boys in your classroom because these activities are engaging. Involve your students in writing screenplays, scavenger hunts, and more.
Avoid teaching grammar in isolation
Teaching grammar in isolation is ineffective. It’s also boring. Students rarely make connections between stand-alone grammar and what they’re writing. It’s almost as if they are two separate worlds.
Instead, teach grammar concepts by using your students’ writing. Middle school students are more excited about learning concepts when their writing is the at the center of the lesson.
Play with language
Encourage your students to identify clichés, make up idioms, and revel in onomatopoeia. Encourage your students to make up poems and raps, rhymes and songs that exaggerate literary devices.
Let your students tell stories
Storytelling is powerful. We connect across cultures when we share our stories, and with good reason. They captivate us and inspire us. Share some of the power of the written word by letting your students write the stories of what goes on around them.
Make writing relevant to student interests
Middle school students are curious about the world around them. Tap into their natural curiosity and make assignments relevant. Assign authentic tasks, like write a persuasive paragraph in favor of your grade, or introduce real-world examples of good and poor writing.
As you incorporate middle school strategies like these in your instruction, remember that writing with your students will be as much fun as you allow it to be. As a result, your students will be more likely to enjoy writing as they get older.
They’ll undoubtedly be able to express themselves better, too.