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Encouraging Writing Opportunities in the Classroom

   In today's education system, there is a heavy emphasis on test-taking and making the grade. Opportunities to write are sometimes overlooked or completely skipped. However, writing is a vital skill that you will use in your everyday life. College is basically one essay after another. Without proper practice and good encouragement, your writing skills will suffer.
   When I was in elementary school, we were encouraged to have journal time every morning. We could write about whatever we wanted. The teacher did not even read our journals. It was just a time where we could write without worrying about being corrected and graded. For me personally, this was an important exercise. It built my confidence and allowed me the freedom to be creative in an otherwise structured school setting.
   If you are a teacher looking to incorporate writing exercises into your lesson plans, you can use book reports or really any kind of report. After science projects, students can write an action report. There are plenty of different reports that students can write to summarize the day's work. I think making time to practice creative writing is also very important though.
   One of my favorite ways to encourage creative writing is with writing prompt dice. The dice game is also a great way to help the reluctant writer get started. Instead of calling it a writing prompt, you can call it a game. Writing prompt dice are just two dice with pictures on them. After you roll them, you just writing a story about the two pictures. If you teach younger students who are not quite writing yet, you can just practice oral storytelling until they are ready. Do not discourage students who enjoy illustrating their stories.
   One of the worst things you can do to encourage your students to write is being overly critical and judgmental. As budding writers, their confidence is fragile. How a teacher reacts could and probably will influence them for the rest of their lives. Be sure to praise their work. Post it on the wall or fridge. Writing is meant to be shared. Having it posted where everyone can read it will build your student's confidence.
   It is my firm belief that everyone can be a writer. With the proper encouragement and opportunities, your students can build their skills and grow to enjoy writing. Even if your students do not go on to become world famous writers, writing is a skill that they cannot live without