Wednesday, February 24

Increasing Student Writing Skills with 4th Grade Writing Prompts

 

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Let’s chat about writing skills. Increasing and maintaining your students' writing skills can be tricky. There is so much to teach and reach mastery on. Then, how do you maintain those precious writing skills? Maintaining writing skill mastery is all about practice. I had a dance instructor who would always tell us, “practice makes permanent.” This quote has stuck with me as a person and a teacher. I know what you’re thinking, daily practice sounds great, but that’s more resources to hunt for and more to prep, and when do I find the time! I’m here to tell you not to fret! Seriously, take a deep breath teacher friend, because I’ve got your back and I can’t wait to share all the easy ways that you can increase your student's writing skills through the use of 4th grade writing prompts.

 

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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Warm Up Activities:

 

Warm up activities are a fabulous way to use 4th grade writing prompts to help your kiddos grow. I set a timer at the beginning of each writing class and I pass out my 4th grade writing prompts face down. I allow my students to free draw on the back of their paper until the timer begins. Once the timer begins, my kiddos flip over their 4th grade writing prompt paper of the day and begin writing. I call this time “lightning write time”. My kiddos know that their pencil must be moving this entire time. During this time, students are working to increase their writing stamina and get their brains fired up for class. As a teacher, I love using 4th grade writing prompts for warm up activities to help my students grow.

 

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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Targeted Skills Practice:

 

The next way I use 4th grade writing prompts in my classroom is to do targeted skills practice. This work can be done both in class or as homework. I do this by instructing my students on a target specific writing skill (for example, using dialogue). Then, I will give them a 4th grade writing prompt (either printed or digitally) and have them display the skill they were instructed on. For example, there is a 4th grade writing prompt called, “Critter Conversation”. This prompt is all about two animals chatting with each other and what they might say if they could speak. I love using this 4th grade writing prompt for my kiddos to demonstrate their understanding of dialogue writing!

 

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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Exit Tickets:

 

What teacher doesn’t love another data point? Teachers are famous for our amazing data tracking skills! One easy way I like to gather additional writing data points is through the use of exit tickets. I will ask my students to complete a 4th grade writing prompt and demonstrate their understanding of the skill taught that day. They will complete their writing prompt at the end of class and drop it in my turn-in bin. A bonus is that my kiddos really enjoy the writing prompt topics, so it ends up being a fun way to end class. Using 4th grade writing prompts as an exit ticket allows me to quickly do a formative assessment on my student's understanding each day.

 
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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Morning Meeting


Why not start each day by increasing your student's writing skills? Another way you can easily use 4th grade writing prompts to improve your student's writing abilities, is to use these in your morning meetings. Before students come in, quickly print and place a 4th grade writing prompt paper on their desk (or assign a digital one in Google Classroom). Build a routine that each morning, students will take a few minutes before the day begins to answer the 4th grade writing prompt on their desk. Once the day begins, you can incorporate this writing practice into your Morning Meeting through the “share” component. Many “would you rather,” 4th grade writing prompts make fantastic shares/ discussions and creates easy planning for you too. Talk about a win-win!

 
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Using 4th Grade Writing Prompts for Small Group Instruction

 

Did you know you can also incorporate 4th grade writing prompts into your small group instruction? Because you absolutely can! Personally, I use 4th grade writing prompts in my writing small group instruction to help aid my instruction. For example, if I am teaching opinion or argumentative essays, I will pull a “would you rather,” 4th grade writing prompt, something my kiddos will have to take a stance on and use that pre-made prompt to teach and practice a specific skill we are working on for our essay writing (example, writing hooks or body paragraphs).

 
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4th grade writing prompts can easily be incorporated into your classroom routine. Remember, “practice makes permanent”. I want my kiddos to maintain their writing skills that they have learned, so we practice constantly. We practice for our morning meeting share, as writing warm-ups, and so much more! If you want to explore an entire year worth of 4the grade writing prompts (digital and print) that I use with my own students, you can click right HERE.



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