April 13, 2017

The Writing Strategies Book Study Goal 2: Engagement

I'm linking up with An Apple For The Teacher for this awesome book study! I'm sharing Goal 2 with you today and we are digging into Engagement {Independence, Increasing Volume, and Developing a Writing Identity}.

Successful writing requires a huge amount of mental focus and discipline--collecting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing...repeat ๐Ÿ˜€

The thought of moving from one piece to the next can send any reluctant writer into a panic. Or your unmotivated writer...a mood writer, I like to call it, who has trouble getting started...who does a lot of "thinking" and who rarely brings a piece, let alone pieces, to publishing.

I've been there...I even dubbed myself as a mood writer from time to time. I've learned that you can't force people to write because writers need to be excited about their writing. They need to take the initiative to write and to write more. Their passion and drive drips from their notebooks.

Now the question is...
How do we get our students there?

To take the pulse of the class, begin with an Engagement Inventory and observe students working. Jot down specific behaviors you see.
Are your students...
⭐actively working?
⭐going to the bathroom?
⭐setting up for the task?
⭐meeting with a partner?

You can also note about what they're doing in their notebooks. Are they...
❤ using the strategies taught?
❤ drawing?
❤ planning?
Picture the End! (Or, Imagine It Done)

This strategy is especially helpful when energy is low and your students are having a hard time attending to the task--they can picture their piece completed! This is especially motivating when there's a mentor text of the same genre or style that you can compare to their work. They will get inspired by new ideas and techniques to push through and try in their writing. 

๐Ÿ“‹ What inspires you about this book?
๐Ÿ“‹How can you use that inspiration in your writing?
Volume is the amount of writing in a given time frame. Each grade has a different set of volume expectations. 

To give you an idea...

In late Kindergarten, students should be able to create one 3 page booklet with a sketch and a sentence on each page in 35 minutes. 

In 4th grade, students should be able to write 1.5-2 pages in 35 minutes.

To get our students to meet their grade level volume expectations, try...

Set a "More" Goal for the Whole Writing Time

Have students look at their notebooks and think about how many lines they tend to write in one writing period. Then have them set a goal to write more. Students can place a dot in the margin next to the goal line indicating where they want to stop...this is the finish line. They can try to write up to the line or past!

๐Ÿ“‹ Check your goal. You've been writing for 15 minutes and have 15 to go. Are you about halfway there?
๐Ÿ“‹ You met your goal! Try to make a new one!

Comment below with your favorite strategy to help students stay focused during writing time!


  1. I'm loving this book study, too! I had never thought about giving kids an amount to write within a timeframe; I think this will really prod some of my kids along. I'm going to try it next week! Thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kathie! My students also need that extra push to write. I'm hoping that with the goal and time frame, as well as daily writing they will be more motivated to write. Fingers crossed ;)

  2. Writing strategies book is what I definitely need to won for my classroom. It think that there I would find all the necessary tips to give my students and motivate them write their essays. I like that here you have raised a very important issue and all your followers have a chance to comment on the subject. I can also add something to your lesson planning. It is important for your students to ask s many questions as they can and you also must ask them what they have learnt today. As an addition to the book there also should be a link to the Essay Online Store as a very helpful bonus,