Lofty Goal Setting for Teachers: Making Writers

Do you believe in small, attainable goals?  Or have you embraced the idea of a BHAG?  That's Big Hairy Audacious Goal?  Well, this post is week 5 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.  So although I tend to focus on the former, today I will explore the idea of an almost unattainable goal.

The first thing that comes to mind is to make my students into avid writers.  People who enjoy writing.  After all my years teaching fourth grade, I feel like I'm competent in teaching math with games and covering the content areas.  But I still struggle with teaching writing. 

For one thing, we don't have a set writing curriculum.  We have Journeys for reading comprehension, but it's not enough when it comes to writing.  So I look at the standards and I look at the teacher's manual and I feel discouraged.  I don't feel like I have a logical progression in place.

Sure, I teach writing.  The kids write in journals 4 times per week.  We do research in social studiesWe have science notebooks with prompts from FOSS.  And we keep writing folders.  It just that with the rigorous expectations in fourth grade getting ready for the MCAS, I feel like I have more work to do.  Whether or not MCAS helps elevate the rigor of writing skills acquisition, MCAS in an of itself does not motivate students to love writing (often it's quite the opposite). 

So how will I work toward achieving this goal?  I want to refine a year long trajectory with my writing units of study (the first trimester looks good so far; I have 2 to go and then need to go back to check over the whole year in context).  I'm finishing up a course on anchor charts and my final project is related to teaching the writing process.  I have a few units from Teachers Pay Teachers that I haven't tried yet that I'm eager to delve into. 

So I feel like I've broken my larger goal into smaller pieces.  But it's still an immense goal.  Getting myself organized is only part of the equations when it comes to getting kids excited about writing and feeling confident that they can do it.  I still have a month and a half to think about how I'm going to motivate them.  Any suggestions about fun ways to make writing more meaningful for fourth graders?

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