I (Cathy) find one of the most popular social media sites used by my student teachers is Pinterest. They rave about the interesting and engaging ideas they find on the site for lessons. I saw evidence of this just recently while visiting a school. My student teacher, Melissa, had found a writing exercise on the site entitled, If I Was Trapped in a Snow Globe. It involved the students creating a snow globe scene inside of a white plastic container and then describing the adventure in writing. The associate teacher was so excited by the results, she lead me into the hallway to see what her young students had accomplished. The associate declared, “This student never writes anything, but look at this! Two pages! They loved this writing assignment.”
Often, good writing results by students are the results of a good inspirational ideas. Luckily educators have many more resources to access now, due to social media. I highly recommend Pinterest for many ideas in variety of subjects.
I (Cathy) teach Writer’s Workshop in my university literacy class by having my student teachers participate in one. They engage in the entire process from selecting a genre, to peer editing, to learning from descriptive feedback, to publishing their work. I am amazed every year how much the student teachers gain from the experience. They often begin the process terrified of being a writer and of teaching writing. The Writer’s Workshop structure helps them overcome much of that fear. One of the biggest challenges they must overcome is selecting a genre to write in. Every year several students are completely stymied by this. To aid these students I provide wordless picture books for which they must write the words. They love it and swear they will do this for their own students when they are teachers.
The other day I came across a new source for stimulating writing. It made me laugh out loud. Would you write it from the sea gulls point of view, or the cat’s?