Motivating Students to Write

Amelia Courtis, Kyle Minner, Emily Williams, Jennie Mokodean

Problem: Motivating Students to Write

Most students think:
• the act of writing is not appealing.
• the writing topics they are given are boring.
• writing is useless and does not have any connection to the real world.
• writing activities are chores.
• they are not writers.

One promising solution to motivate students to write is to give them an opportunity to create and publish with their writing. Some options we came up with that will allow students to create and publish are:
1. Allow students to create a compilation of students' work, such as a literary magazine or newspaper.
    • great because it gives students lots of choices (Mr. Ellis)
2. Student can create podcasts or participate in blog pages. In short, they can publish in the public domain of the internet.
    • this technology not available in YCSD schools; however, can use the intranet for a blog, but it can only be accessed at school and only by teachers (Mr. Ellis)
    • if teachers really want to have a class blog, some pay the money to get their own sites; teachers cannot access these sites at school, though (Mr. Ellis)
3. Students can use the internet to find inspiration or to illuminate or illustrate their writing, such as using WebQuest.
    • thought it was the best solution (Mr. Ellis)
4. Students can create visual publications, such as digital collages or children's books, that tell a story.
    • suggested using something like Comic Life (Mr. Ellis)
    • Grafton, if not all YCSD schools, have a subscription to the AP archive, so teachers and students do not need to worry about copyright and fair use (Mr. Ellis)
5. Students can write scripts. These scripts can be film scripts based on novels they have read, plays, or scripts for radio, print, or other non-print advertisements, such as public service announcements.

Mrs. Poe feedback: All your ideas sound great. I do not know much about technology. You should use your instinct to decide what works best.

Model Solution: Literary Magazine Project

1. The student will write in a variety of styles (i.e. expository, creative) and for a variety of purposes (i.e. informative, entertainment).
2. The student will demonstrate each stage of the writing process (pre-writing, writing, revision, and editing) in activities such as writing workshops, peer editing, and free writes.
3. The student will demonstrate a mastery of grammar usage in his/her writing.
4. The student will learn the fundamentals of graphic design by creating a literary magazine composed of the class’ writings.

How a literary magazine will motivate students to write:
By creating a literary magazine of their writing, students will gain a sense of ownership. This is a project that they will work towards throughout the semester, and once completed they will have an authentic product representing their efforts and progress, something unique that they created.

Students will have a sense of purpose for their writing throughout the school year as they work towards the final goal of creating the magazine. Students know that they may select their best work, so they will strive to write something they would like to publish and be proud of. They have a specific goal to work towards.

Once completed the literary magazine becomes an authentic product that students can share with their friends, family, and other audiences. They have a permanent, tangible example of their writing that will they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

With this project, writing is no longer an individual practice. Writing becomes a group and collaborative effort to create the final product. The additional activities involved in creating a literary magazine places the focus on how students' writing contributes to the project and how their writing can be translated into a group collaboration. Each student will also have a role in producing the magazine. These roles will give students a sense of responsibility, leadership, accountability, and teamwork. Students will also develop collaborative skills through interactions with their peers and flourish in social learning environments, working on their writing together.

Students will see that writing is not just something they turn into the teacher. Their writing can be a part of the creative expression of a group. Students will be able to explore the different purposes and types of writing. By creating a literary magazine, students can extend their writings into a creative endeavor that becomes much more meaningful.

Possible Technology Tools for Creating a Literary Magazine:

Microsoft Word:
• the easiest and simplest software
• most everyone is familiar with it
• not hard to learn
• has many template options, such as newsletter and brochure formats
• variety of fonts and colors
• easy to import and paste images (if desired)
• the wraparound text function makes page layout smoother
• more visually appealing
• can create a professional-looking product

Digital Camera
• option for students to add art
• incorporates multiple intelligences and differentiation
• adds more visual appeal
• most schools have easy access to cameras
• not difficult to use—the basic function is point and shoot
• easy to import images into the existing document
• heightens sense of creative product

• option for artistic students who would like to add illustrations to the magazine
• most schools have at least one
• relatively easy to use
• heightens sense of creative product

• option for editing images (if available and desired)

Software that can be used in lieu of Word:
Comic Life
• optional page layout
Adobe PageMaker
• need to take time to teach students how to use software

What you can include in the literary magazine:
• Cover art
• Title of literary magazine
• Theme
• Student-created images
• Variety of page layouts
• Famous quotations related to theme or content
• Class statement about magazine’s purpose, theme, and/or writers
• Table of contents
• Short student biographies
• Advertisements from businesses that donated money to get the magazine professionally printed

The Owl and the Pussy Cat Comic Life.comicdoc