For the first ten years of my career, this was a question I wrestled with constantly. I purchased my fair share of books and attended more than a few workshops in search of the answer. I DID find it, but I didn’t realize it at the time. Then I kept looking.
The answer came in my third year on the job: Make them write more. That’s it! Make them write everyday. Make them write at the start of a lesson. Make them write at the end of a lesson. Make them write for homework. Write. Write. Write.
How? There are a lot of ways a teacher can do this. For me, the answer came in the form of The Writer’s Notebook.
In year three, I gave it a try. And I failed. Several times actually. And because I couldn’t make it work on those trials, I decided to give up and moved on.
But now I’m back! And I am even more convinced that this is the best tool in a writing teacher’s equipment bag.