Now that you are ready to teach writing skills and your students have the necessary means to write, what comes next? Richard Allington (2012) reminds us that students should be given opportunities to write about something personally meaningful every day. Let’s examine some great ideas for writing prompts that will be meaningful and interesting to your students.
In previous editions of this newsletter, we explored the rationale for teaching students with intellectual disabilities to write ( Write On!, November 2012). We also looked at selecting the appropriate method of writing for each student ( Finding Yo ur Student’s Pencil, Septem ber 201 3 ). Now that you are ready to teach writing skills and your students have the necessary means to write, what comes next? Richard Allington (2012) reminds us that students should be given opportunities to write about something personally meaningful every day. When students write about something personally meaningful, they tend to write better because they want their written communication to be understood by others (Cunningham & Cunningham, 2010). Let’s examine some great ideas for writing prompts that will be meaningful and interesting to your students.
1) Remnant Book
A Remnant Book is a personalized book full of concrete, high-interest writing prompts. Get a scrapbook or binder and fill it full of items that have meaning to a particular student. Items might include photographs, ticket stubs, souvenirs, or receipts. When it is time to write, the student can look through his/her remnant book and select an object to write about. Check out a short video module about remnant books.
2) Story Jars
This fun activity is guaranteed to produce interesting writing prompts. Gather three jars or small boxes and fill each with writing prompts on index cards or small pieces of paper. Label one jar “WHO”, another jar “WHAT”, and the third jar “WHERE.” Have students select one prompt from each jar and use the 3 part sentence as the writing prompt. Here is a sample lesson plan that incorporates 11 different ASOL standards into this activity.
STORY JAR EXAMPLES:
|Sample Writing Prompts
|my teacheraa duckPhineas & FerbAbraham Lincolnthree teenage girls
|saw the scariest thing wasso embarrassed hidingfrom someone practicingdance moves runningaway from home
|in the kitchenon a rollercoasteron a deserted island
in New York City
at the zoo
|My teacher was practicing dance moves on a rollercoaster.Phineas & Ferb were hiding from someone at the zoo.
- Literacy Possible: Writing Instruction Modules presented by T-TAC ODU
- VDOE Sample Writing Activities Query (search by ASOL)
- Teaching the Write Way: An Overview of Writing Instruction for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
Allington, R. L., & Gabriel, R. E. (2012). Every child, every day. Educational Leadership, 69(6), 10-15.
Cunningham, P. M., & Cunningham, J. W. (2010). What really matters in writing: Research-based practices across the elementary curriculum. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.