Hurdles to Jump Over - an article for my school’s newsletter
I broke my first bone in fifth grade. It was damp and misty outside, all of us were jumping hurdles, running, and throwing the shot put, on a small field enclosed by the back fences of quaint, stone townhouses, in Norbury, England. When the bell rang to call all of us together, goofiness entered me, and legs flailing, I attempted a short hurdle that just happen to be on my way to the line. My silly legs got tangled up with the hurdle, and down I went, on my arm. Crack, and off I went to the hospital for a cast.
When learning how to write, students encounter several hurdles, but luckily they never end up in the hospital for not quite getting over one. Writing, even for professional writers, includes hurdles. In teaching and learning about writing I have found that the most prevalent hurdle is motivation.
I understand motivation to be a core hurdle because if the internal drive to write is not there, the process of writing and the end product are not going to be satisfying, thus creating a negative cycle. To experience the fun of writing and the excitement of sharing promotes the whole process, over and over again. It’s the same satisfaction as running and successfully jumping over multiple hurdles.
So how do we inspire, promote, and nurture the motivation to write for children?
- Model it - we show our enthusiasm. Whether it’s texting a message to grandma, getting all the ingredients for pumpkin pie down on the shopping list, writing a silly short story or keeping a writing journal, we get psyched up!
- We understand that writing is a continually growing skill, and therefore not everything in your child’s piece will be perfect. Praise what you notice is great. Was the story/essay funny? Did it take place in a surprising environment? Was there great action? Are there strong characters? Do some of the words really give you clear images? Does the end leave you wondering?
Below is a list of writing ideas to get motivation started:
List everything you love to do. Pick something from this list to write about.
List everything you hate to do. Pick something from this list to write about.
Describe your favorite sport.
Describe your favorite dinner.
Describe what happened when you had a friend sleepover.
Describe your room.
Imagine you are the apple you are about to eat.
Describe what you can’t wait to do out on the playground.
Here is a link to more writing ideas - http://journalbuddies.com/teacher-parent-resources/48-thought-provoking-elementary-writing-prompts/