Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

There are many so many wonderful ways to teach and foster a love for writing without purchasing curriculum. I have taught writing classes at our homeschool co-op and created writing curriculum. Here are some ideas for your home or co-op: 

Many students feel it is more meaningful to write when they are writing for more than just their parents or teacher. You may consider a blog for your student or a shared, private site with a group of friends like MeWe.

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  • Blogging–Your kids can write their own blog. Each student is an expert on something. This is an excellent outlet for them to write about what they love and share about all their wonderful homeschool experiences.  Here are my son’s and daughter’s blogs. In The School Revolution, Dr. Ron Paul writes:

“If a student develops a blog with hundreds of pages of essays, plus links to videos, he will have a tremendous asset when it comes to looking for a job. How many job applicants have this kind of publicly available evidence of their competence?An employer will know that the student is capable in two crucial areas: written communication and verbal communication…The student will go to the top of the pile of job applicants.”–Dr. Ron Paul

  •  NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program–I am going to teach this at co-op in the fallImage result for image student writing public domain to 4th-8th graders. It can also easily be done at home with just your children. “National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to draft an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!”  You are able to print out the teacher’s manual and student workbook for free! We will spend September and October using the curriculum to spark imagination with exercises to help create characters, build settings and hatch plots.
  • Wordsmithery–This is another free writing curriculum you can do with a co-op or at home with your kids. I taught a creative writing class several years ago to 2nd-6th graders and used much of this as the foundation. Image result for image student writing public domain
  • Writing Prompts–Writing prompts are an exciting way to motivate your kids. I have found they are even more eager to jump in when you tell them they only have 5 minutes to write.  Try setting a timer and see how much quicker they jump into the challenge.
    • We are fond of visual writing prompts. When using those, you may consider giving your kids 60 seconds to formulate a story in their head before the writing begins. I also suggest they write down 5 key words during their 60-second planning process.
    • Scholastic offers First Writing Prompts, a free online tool with over 200 days of starters. They correspond to the school year with prompts that reflect the holidays and seasons.
  • Reading Response Journals–After my kids complete their daily reading assignments, they write a paragraph about what they just read. It can be done in a notebook. However, my kids prefer to do it in Google Docs. They simply send me an electronic invitation, and I am able to view and comment. Every few days, I sit down with them to review what they wrote and help them to find any grammar errors in their writing. Over an extended period of time, this Google Docs file will showcase a vast array of books they have read. 1482532743
  • Books–I have found these books to be masterful with inspiring and fun writing activities: Games for Writing and Write Outside the Lines.
  • Here are some more fun ideas to get your child writing:
    • Movie reviews
    • Restuarant reviews
    • Field trips and vacation recaps
    • Wikipedia entries
    • Books reviews
    • Product reviews of their favorite toys/games
    • Create FAQs about something she is passionate about

I hope you feel inspired to create a writing program for your children that makes them love writing! Also, please share in the comments below some of your favorite ways to teach writing to your kids without purchasing a writing curriculum.

You may also be interested in:

My Favorite K-6 Math Curriculum and Supplements

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Give Your Kids a World-Class Math Education for Free

Ten Ways to Teach Your Child to Read and Love Books

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

Free and Fun Spelling Website

Open Letter to U.S. Education Secretary King Who Says Homeschoolers Would Be Better Off in Public Schools

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Teaching with Legos to Develop 21st-Century Skills: Lego Writing Club

Teaching with Legos to Develop 21st-Century Skills: Lego Writing Club

I love to incorporate Legos into our learning!!! I have created and taught three Lego classes for our co-op. This post, the first in a series about teaching with Legos, will be about the Lego Writing Club.

 Kids delight in writing more when they have an audience of their peers and not just their parents or teacher.

Lego Writing Club incorporates the following 21st-century skills: 1) Collaboration and teamwork; 2) Oral and written communication; 3) Creativity and imagination; 4) Flexibility and adaptabilty; and 5) Technology literacy.

An excellent selection of minifigs is very helpful in generating imaginative stories. Lego Education developed two superb minifigure sets that were huge hits with my classes. LEGO Education’s Fairytale and Historic Minfigures Set as well as the Community Workers Set are both fantastic for this class!

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Here are some more details about the flow of the class:

  • All students are addressed as authors or writers. Each week we begin the class with  one or two “Featured Authors of the Week” reading their story.

All students are addressed as authors or writers.

  • I teach a brief grammar lesson that the authors incorporate into their writing. For instance, I taught a couple of weeks over the proper use of quotation marks in writing dialogue. I developed a cumulative checklist, similar to the IEW concept, that they used each week to incorporate the writing skills into their stories.
  • I give the class a very open-ended theme for the build, such as ocean or winter, and break them up into teams. They collaborate and agree on a setting, conflict and main characters before touching any Legos.  Sometimes they build three different scenes for the beginning, middle and end.
  • After the builds are completed, I take pictures of each one. Next, I  upload the pictures to our free class website on MeWe and also include the details of their setting, conflict and main characters. Any class website or page should work.
  • The authors write a story at home based on their build and upload it on MeWe. Parents assist in the revision process. It is interesting to see how the stories within each team differ once they go home and add their own unique twist. My kids loved reading their peers’ stories each week on MeWe. Peer feedback is encouraged.

I hope you found this post useful and can use it in your co-op, classroom or with a group of friends. Stay tuned for Part Two of this Teaching with Legos series.

Here are some other posts you may enjoy:

Fun Ways to Teach Writing Without Buying a Curriculum

Making Writing Enjoyable

Teaching Public Speaking with Legos

How We Homeschool 4th & 5th Grade

Find out how my kids learned to type using a fun and free program:

Fun and Free Typing Program

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Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it.  This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!