I love teaching writing! It’s my favorite thing. I love watching students light up with ideas as they write in my class. I love having students leave my room confident in their ability to write and embrace the process. But, let’s be honest here. It takes some kids a long time to get confident about writing. Why is that?
I feel like it’s because there are so many aspects of writing to master to be considered good. First you have your conventions. Capitalization, punctuation, spelling, grammar and appropriate spacing between words. Next, you have to have great ideas and paint pictures in your reader’s mind. Then you have to consider grouping things that are similar into paragraphs and make sure your beginning is amazing. Oh yeah, don’t forget to wrap it up for your reader with a great conclusion! No wonder students can be overwhelmed.
Students need loads of opportunities to practice and even more encouragement. They need a safe place to take risks and learn from their mistakes. Writing should be fun, just like reading should be fun. Here are some fun digital writing activities that focus on writing. These can be used in Virtual Classrooms or for Face to Face Teaching.
Sentence Stretching Writing Activities
These Google Slides have teaching anchor charts built in that show students how to stretch sentences using who, what, when, where and why. I love not having a million questions during independent writing time! I created this writing activity to last 2 or 3 days.
On the first day we start off as a whole group on my interactive whiteboard. I assign the entire project in Google Classroom. We go over the anchor charts and make a few sentences together on the board. Then I have them do one on their own as I walk around the room checking in on the students who will likely need me the most.
You could also do this with partners. I think groups of three or more would get too many ideas flowing and make things more complicated than necessary. Lastly, I have some students share their new sentences aloud.
The following days, we have a quick refresher lesson, and I give students a number of slides to complete as a goal by the end of writing time. As the slides progress, less and less supports are provided. Students love this sentence writing activity! Sentence stems are already there. The students love to make silly sentences with these! Click here to check it out on TpT!
Quotation Marks in Dialogue Punctuation Practice
I don’t know about you, but teaching students punctuating dialogue can be a nightmare. These slides are created with anchor charts for students to use as a reference while working independently and giant, movable punctuation marks. I assign all of the slides at once, and just set a completion goal for the day.
This way they can look back at the anchor charts whenever they need them. On the first day I teach them where to put the punctuation marks using the anchor chart projected on my whiteboard.
Then we do some examples together, and I demonstrate going back to look at the anchor charts to check my work. Then, I put the kids into pairs and let them work together on a few slides depending on how much time we have left.
The following days, we look I also put in some fun slides to help students spice up their dialogue writing with synonyms for the word said. This section of the resource is their reward for getting through the hard part! They get to name a character and create their own speaker tag and creative dialogue. It’s a blast! Click here to check it out on TpT!
Elaboration Writing Activities for Adding Details
This writing activity is for the class that needs practice adding details and descriptions. This one has teaching anchor charts for student reference, too. It helps students use their five senses to elaborate and use imagery in their writing so they can SHOW and not TELL what is happening. For this writing lesson, I have the students all close their eyes at their desk. I say a boring sentence like “the dog sat.”
Then I call on a few students to tell about the dog they pictured. What color was it? Did it have long fur? Was it outside? Was it sunny outside? Then I have them close their eyes again and add details to the sentence. “The fluffy, brown dog sat on the sidewalk outside on a beautiful sunny day in the park.” Then we talk about painting a picture in our readers’ minds with our writing. They love it! I love it!
Then as a whole group, we look at the anchor charts projected on my whiteboard, and complete an activity together. This resource gives students multiple opportunities to practice adding details to their writing. There are a total of 16 slides for students to practice!
Complete sentences and sentence stems are already there for students that have trouble coming up with ideas. At the end of each writing lesson, I always make sure to leave enough time for students to get with a partner to share their writing. This is their favorite (and mine!) part. They take turns closing their eyes and listening to the author’s writing and then tell them about the pictures in their mind. Click here to check it out on TpT!
These Google Drive resources have really upped my writing lessons! Each of them include many ways to practice the skill. I feel like my students enjoy writing more, and are able to transfer what they learn into other writing projects we do in class. What other things have you done to help students enjoy writing? What other digital writing activities do you need to support your students?