Give Students Time to Write

When we think about our students work day, it may not seem like there is a lack of writing time.  They have there daily journal topic, the response to a reading assignment, the essays in science and social studies, and the writing assignment that focuses on a specific genre, or skill.  Despite the many things students are called on to write about in a given week there is still one type of writing that is conspicuously missing.  That is allowing time for the students to write about what they want to write about.  

Free Writing time is essential for developing writers.  If all they are ever given time to do is what they are told to do, it is unlikely that they will ever develop a love for writing.  The big question that I'm sure is going through your mind is,  When?  Our days are packed and we cant fit in everything as is is.  The solution I decided on was to be a little more careful with my weekly writing assignment.  I have consolidated two weeks writing instruction goals into a one week lesson, and now every other week is dedicated to student choice writing.

You may be wondering why is it so important to provide students so much time to just write about what they want.  The main reason is that students in general love to write about things they are interested in.  Writing should be a positive and fun experience for our students, not a dreaded task.  When students are motivated we get their best work.  I can say that I have seen a difference in my students this year since I have started this.  Although this group of students came to me a little bit lower based on 3rd grade end of level testing, but already this year I am getting better writing not just on free writes, but in every type of writing.