Teaching Narrative Writing: Strategies to Help Students Enjoy Writing Stories

Teaching narrative writing can be an incredibly rewarding experience, unlocking the hidden storyteller within each student. But how can you make the process engaging, exciting, and effective for your students? Discover the essential components of narrative writing, explore engaging teaching methods, and learn how to foster a love for writing that will last a lifetime.

The Basics of Narrative Writing

Narrative writing is the exciting art of storytelling, including personal narratives. It’s a form of writing that shares captivating sequences of events, intriguing characters, and thought-provoking themes. Every personal narrative should have a captivating beginning, exciting middle, and satisfying end, as well as engaging characters and a vivid setting, which teachers can teach students. By understanding these narrative elements and exploring narrative writing examples, you’ll be well-equipped to introduce narrative writing to your students and help them develop their own stories.

The key components of a narrative structure are orientation, complications and events, and resolution. These elements create a captivating story and are essential aspects of teaching narrative writing. Encouraging students to recognize their natural storytelling abilities and create their own story is a great way to introduce this form of writing through a narrative writing unit.

Videos, songs, and other engaging activities can make learning narrative writing fun and exhilarating, enhancing the effectiveness of writing instruction. With narrative writing online, students can access these resources anytime, anywhere.

Plot Development

Plot development is essential for captivating stories and should include a concise beginning, middle, and end. In teaching narrative writing, focus on the key components of a narrative text: orientation, complication, resolution, and ending. One great way to help students understand the structure of a narrative story is by deconstructing a text through a fun activity like cutting it up and sticking it back together. This sorting task can be engaging for middle school students learning narrative writing.

Temporal words play a significant role in narrative writing, as they assist students in arranging their events in an orderly, chronological fashion. A Narrative Plot Structure Diagram or a plot map can provide students with a visual representation of how to craft a captivating narrative that starts with an exciting action. These tools can be invaluable in teaching plot development and helping students create stories that truly capture the reader’s imagination.

Character Creation

Character creation is an exciting opportunity to craft believable, relatable characters with distinct personalities and physical traits that will captivate your readers. Character traits infuse a story with realism, depth, and meaning, creating an unforgettable and captivating experience for the reader. To help your students create characters that come to life, encourage them to use real people as inspiration, craft brief background stories and physical descriptions, and include small details that make their characters unique.

For a short story, it’s recommended to have one main character and a few secondary ones. Teaching character creation involves guiding students in developing their characters and ensuring they have a clear understanding of each character’s traits and distinguishing features. This will help students create engaging and memorable characters that truly bring their stories to life.

Setting the Scene

Setting the scene plays an essential role in helping to create the story’s atmosphere and giving context to the characters and events. Encouraging students to select a suitable setting for their story can help them move onto the exciting task of crafting characters to inhabit their imaginative world. To give students the boost they need to tackle the intimidating blank page when writing, offer them the support they need by providing word banks or other resources to get them started.

For older or more advanced students, exploring and challenging existing story-setting expectations can be an exciting activity. They may find this a great opportunity to push their boundaries and learn something new. By doing so, they can create a unique story with a humorous twist or a more original story that will captivate their readers. Encouraging students to experiment with their story settings can spark creativity and inspire them to think outside the box.

Engaging Teaching Methods for Narrative Writing

To help students develop their narrative writing skills, it’s essential to use engaging teaching methods that spark creativity and interest. Engaging methods can include storytelling games and visual aids, which not only make the writing process enjoyable, but also provide valuable insight into the structure, elements, and techniques used to craft a captivating story. By incorporating these methods into your writing instruction, you’ll provide an interactive and memorable learning experience for your students.

Storytelling games and visual aids are just two examples of engaging methods to teach narrative writing. Other approaches may include using narrative writing prompts, brainstorming sessions, reading mentor texts, and teaching the 5Ws (and 1H). By using a variety of methods, you can help your students develop the skills and confidence they need to become successful narrative writers.

Storytelling Games

Storytelling games are an excellent way to encourage students to think creatively and collaborate on developing stories. One exciting storytelling game is Round Robin Storytelling, where each person gets to contribute to the story. Round Robin Storytelling encourages the development of speaking and listening skills, making it a great addition to narrative writing instruction. To ensure success in Round Robin Storytelling, pay special attention to less confident learners and provide them with the necessary support.

In addition to Round Robin Storytelling, there are many other storytelling games that can be used to engage students in narrative writing. Some examples include story dice, story starters, and collaborative writing activities. By incorporating these games into your lesson plans, you’ll provide a fun and interactive way for students to practice their writing skills and develop their storytelling abilities.

Visual Aids

Visual aids, such as photographs, illustrations, diagrams, charts, graphs, videos, and props, can inspire students and help them visualize their stories. In teaching writing, visual aids can be an invaluable tool in helping students express ideas and comprehend experiences that language may not be able to capture. Visual aids can also help students link their own experiences to the stories they are writing, providing a deeper connection and understanding of the narrative.

To incorporate visual aids into your writing instruction, consider using visual prompts such as pictures, illustrations, or videos to inspire students’ creativity and imagination. You can also use graphic organizers, like story maps or character profiles, to help students plan and organize their narratives. By using visual aids in your lesson plans, you’ll not only engage your students, but also help them develop important skills in visual literacy and storytelling.

Implementing Mentor Texts

Mentor texts are essential for teaching narrative writing, as they provide examples of successful storytelling. These texts can showcase various narrative elements and techniques, helping students understand what makes a great narrative story. To make the most of mentor texts, students should carefully observe how the author crafted the text to serve their purpose, and identify areas in the model that demonstrate the criteria outlined in the rubric.

In addition to providing valuable insight into narrative writing, mentor texts can also serve as a source of inspiration for students. By reading and analyzing mentor texts, students can not only learn from the best but also develop their own unique writing style and voice.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss how to choose the right mentor texts and how to analyze them effectively.

Choosing the Right Mentor Texts

When selecting mentor texts, it is crucial to consider their captivating nature, excellence, pertinence, and capacity to provide vivid illustrations of the writing strategies being taught. Teachers can discover inspiring mentor texts for teaching narrative writing on various websites, such as the Cult of Pedagogy website. By evaluating mentor texts, teachers can select the ones that are most suitable for their students’ age and skill level.

To ensure you select the best mentor texts, consider the following criteria: the text should be engaging, of high quality, relevant to the topic, and provide clear examples of the writing techniques being taught. By choosing mentor texts that meet these criteria, you’ll provide your students with powerful examples of successful storytelling that they can learn from and aspire to emulate in their own writing.

Analyzing Mentor Texts

Analyzing mentor texts is a great way to learn from the best. It involves closely examining the techniques used by the author to create a powerful effect on the reader. By exploring how the author develops the plot, creates characters, and sets the scene, students can gain a better understanding of the essential elements of narrative writing. This can help them hone their own writing skills by learning how to create compelling stories that truly capture the reader’s imagination.

When analyzing a mentor text, students should explore how the author uses language to create a certain mood or atmosphere. They can also examine how the author uses figurative language, sensory details, and vivid verbs to bring the story to life. By engaging in this process, students can not only learn valuable writing techniques, but also develop their analytical skills and critical thinking abilities.

Writing Workshops and Peer Review

Writing workshops and peer review sessions provide opportunities for students to practice their writing skills and receive feedback. These sessions can help students improve their writing, develop their ability to give and receive constructive criticism, and foster a supportive and collaborative learning environment.

By combining writing workshops with peer review, students can benefit from a structured approach to the writing process. This includes pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing, all of which help students write and develop their writing skills and confidence in their abilities.

With this approach, students can become more confident and competent writers, ready to tackle any narrative writing challenge.

Organizing Writing Workshops

Organizing writing workshops involves setting clear objectives, providing guidance, and allowing time for independent writing. To create an ideal writing space, provide a designated area with the necessary supplies, such as notebooks, pens, and other materials, and ensure the space is comfortable and conducive to writing. Schedule the workshop to be engaging and motivating, with topics that are inspiring and relevant to the students.

Planning mini-lessons effectively can significantly contribute to the success of a writing workshop. Select topics that align with the workshop’s goals, prepare materials, and create activities that engage the students in a meaningful way. Ensure that there is ample time for independent writing, offering guidance and support as needed.

By organizing and conducting writing workshops effectively, you can create a nurturing environment where students can develop their writing skills and confidence.

Effective Peer Review Strategies

Effective peer review strategies involve teaching students how to provide constructive feedback and encouraging a supportive environment. By providing clear guidelines for feedback, encouraging constructive criticism, and allowing time for revisions based on feedback, you can foster effective peer review strategies in narrative writing. It is essential to communicate clear objectives, expectations, and criteria for acceptable work, and to provide students with focused tasks or criteria.

To foster an environment of support, offer positive reinforcement, honor student successes, and create a safe space for students to express their ideas. Encourage cooperation and peer review, and guide students on how to give feedback that is both helpful and constructive. By implementing effective peer review strategies, you can create a collaborative and supportive learning environment where students can grow and develop as writers.

Assessing and Providing Feedback on Student Narratives

Assessing and providing feedback on student narratives is crucial for their growth as writers. By carefully examining content, grammar, sentence structure, story cohesion, story grammar, vocabulary, and voice, as well as mechanics such as spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, you can gain a better understanding of their writing and provide valuable feedback. Utilizing a rubric or other assessment tool can help to clearly define expectations and assess writing progress both in the present and over time.

Formative assessment is an invaluable tool for gathering information about student learning and providing feedback to help guide instruction and support student growth. Summative assessment, on the other hand, is an excellent way to evaluate student learning and progress at the end of a unit or course. By using both formative and summative assessments, along with providing helpful and meaningful feedback, you can support your students’ development as writers and help them reach their full potential.

Grading Rubrics

Grading rubrics are powerful sets of guidelines or criteria used to evaluate student work and measure their progress. They include a task description, the outcome being assessed, the characteristics to be rated, levels of mastery/scale, and a description of each characteristic at each level of mastery/scale. By using grading rubrics, you can ensure consistent and fair assessment of students’ work, helping them understand what they need to improve and what they have already mastered.

To create effective grading rubrics, consider the following components: a task description, the outcome to be evaluated, the criteria to be graded, levels of mastery/scale, and a description of each criterion at each level of mastery/scale. By clearly defining expectations and assessment criteria, grading rubrics can help motivate students and provide them with a clear understanding of what is required for success in narrative writing.

Providing Constructive Feedback

Providing constructive feedback involves identifying strengths and areas for improvement, as well as offering specific suggestions for revision. To give constructive feedback, focus on providing both corrective and affirming comments about past behavior. This approach can help students recognize areas that need improvement and motivate them to take action.

To ensure that your feedback is helpful and meaningful, be specific in your comments and provide clear guidance on how students can improve their work. Offer praise and support where appropriate, and encourage students to continue working on their writing skills. By providing constructive feedback, you can help your students grow and develop as writers, ready to tackle any narrative writing challenge.

Encouraging a Love for Writing

Encouraging a love for writing involves creating a supportive environment and celebrating student success. By providing resources, encouragement, and opportunities for students to share their work, you can help foster a love for writing that will last a lifetime.

In the following sections, we’ll explore how to build a supportive writing environment and celebrate student success. Creating a nurturing environment for writing can help unlock students’ creativity, access resources and guidance, and celebrate their successes. By fostering a positive community and recognizing student achievements, you can inspire a love for writing that will stay with your students throughout their academic careers and beyond.

Building a Supportive Writing Environment

To create a supportive writing environment, provide a designated area with the necessary supplies, such as notebooks, pens, and other materials, and ensure the space is comfortable and conducive to writing. Schedule regular writing workshops and activities that engage students in the writing process and provide guidance and feedback as needed. Encourage students to share their work with their peers and offer constructive criticism and support to help them grow as writers.

In addition to providing resources and encouragement, cultivate a positive community by honoring student successes and creating a safe space for students to express their ideas. Encourage cooperation and peer review, and provide opportunities for students to practice giving and receiving feedback. By creating a supportive writing environment, you can help your students develop the skills and confidence they need to become successful narrative writers.

Celebrating Student Success

Celebrating student success can involve showcasing their stories, offering praise, and acknowledging their progress and achievements. Teachers can display student stories in the classroom, share them with other classes for inspiration, or publish them in a school newsletter or website to spread the good news. By recognizing and celebrating student success, you can help foster a love for writing and motivate students to continue honing their skills.

In addition to showcasing student stories, provide verbal feedback, give out awards or certificates, and write letters of recommendation to recognize their accomplishments. Recognize and reward students for their achievements by providing extra credit, offering special privileges, or giving out small gifts or tokens of appreciation to show your gratitude. Celebrating student success will not only inspire a love for writing, but also help students develop the confidence and motivation needed to continue their writing journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps to teach narrative writing?

Engage students by exposing them to inspiring narratives and showing them stories are everywhere. Guide them through the structure of a story with in-class activities, like story mapping and reading models.

Assign an essay to demonstrate their knowledge, and plan out how long each step should take.

What are the five steps to narrative writing?

To write a narrative essay, begin by choosing a topic, create an outline, write the essay, revise it, and proofread it before publishing.

What is narrative writing?

Narrative writing tells a story through a main character in a setting, with a problem or event that engages the reader. It is characterized by a plot that follows what happens to this character, making it an interesting and entertaining experience.

The plot should be structured in a way that builds suspense and keeps the reader engaged. It should also have a clear beginning, middle, and end. The characters should be developed and have a clear motivation.

How can storytelling games and visual aids help in teaching narrative writing?

Storytelling games and visual aids can provide an engaging way to spark creativity in students and help them explore ideas in narrative writing. They help to capture experiences that language alone may not be able to convey.

What is the importance of mentor texts in teaching narrative writing?

Mentor texts are invaluable when teaching narrative writing, offering powerful examples of successful storytelling and insight into structure, elements, and techniques used to craft a captivating story.

By studying mentor texts, students can learn how to create a compelling narrative arc, develop characters, and use language to evoke emotion. They can also gain an understanding of how to use dialogue, pacing, and other elements to create a vivid and engaging story.


In conclusion, teaching narrative writing is an exciting and rewarding journey that can help students unleash their creativity and develop valuable writing skills. By understanding the basics of narrative writing, using engaging teaching methods, implementing mentor texts, organizing writing workshops, assessing and providing feedback, and encouraging a love for writing, you can inspire and support your students as they embark on their own storytelling adventures.

Remember, the key to successful narrative writing is to create a supportive environment where students feel empowered to explore their imaginations and share their stories with the world.

Intentional Teaching: Examples and Strategies

Intentional teaching in early childhood is an interesting topic for educators and parents because both parents and educators need new effective educational approaches. The process of teaching and learning is very complex, and it always combines different contexts, interactions between children and teachers, and different content. The role of teachers is impossible to underestimate because they are in charge of making these interactions happen and delivering the material. Intentional teaching is aimed to make the teaching process more meaningful and effective.

What Intentional Teaching Is

First of all, let’s consider the intentional teaching definition. This is an “active process and a way of relating to the children” that is based on recognizing children’s strengths. The intentional teaching approach requires teachers to be thoughtful about their decisions and actions. Everything a teacher does should be aimed to improve children’s overall development and maximize the effectiveness of the learning process.

Intentional teaching requires teachers to set clear goals and to plan the educational process so that they can achieve specific outcomes. Teachers should recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their students and choose the best ways of interaction, thinking about children’s development. In short, the meaning of intentional teaching is obvious from the very name of this approach. Teachers should rely on intentional decision-making in their relationships, curriculum, and administrative responsibilities.

Intentional teaching is a much more dynamic process than traditional approaches because the whole learning experience becomes well-planned and goal-oriented, even when it looks improvised. Intentional teaching is all about decision-making, and it is based on planned experiences, while also requiring teachers to quickly react to any of the children’s inquiries. Although planning is important, teachers should also be able to quickly adapt to unforeseen circumstances.

Teachers may use different intentional teaching strategies and they need to understand the ndividual learning capabilities of each particular child. Besides, teachers should understand how the learning process works. To choose the right strategies and maintain effective communication, teachers should also know children’s interests. Even the curriculum isn’t determined strictly by teachers but rather co-created with children. Creative curriculum intentional teaching cards are often based on conversations with kids and aimed at specific skills.

What Is an Example of Intentional Teaching?

Intentional teaching may involve a vast variety of activities aimed at identity development, building relationships, overall children’s wellbeing, active learning, and communicating. Given the variety of intentional teaching strategies, there are countless examples of intentional teaching. Intentional teachers apply investigation and problem-solving to everyday situations and encourage curiosity. Teachers may intentionally create challenges so that children can experience the application of ideas in practice. Quite often, intentional teachers also carefully choose the right voice and gestures to create a sort of roleplay.

The intentional teaching approach can be used in various situations. For instance, teachers may use open-ended questions so that children can formulate unique opinions and use argumentation. Intentional teaching may also apply to children’s daily routines. For instance, teachers may encourage children to manage their personal belongings. Teachers may also focus on improving kids’ self-confidence, helping them build relationships, or exploring practices related to safety and health.

6 Strategies for Intentional Teaching

Intentional teaching strategies are based on the parents’ goals. Teachers need to consider children’s interests and skills, and they should also take into account parents’ aspirations for their kids. Therefore, the first step of intentional teaching is to determine the goals and priorities. This way, teachers can choose the right strategies and come up with a curriculum tailored to the needs of children and their parents’ vision. Here are the six best intentional teaching strategies that help teachers achieve better results.

  1. Shared priorities for the curriculum

As we’ve already mentioned above, parents should be involved in the education planning process, helping teachers choose the right approach. For instance, parents can determine priorities for the setting. Teachers should also adopt an individual approach, considering individual features of children’s development. The teachers’ priorities should not only align with the parents’ vision but also create opportunities for children so that they can pursue their interests and use their strengths.

  1. Intentional interactions and environments

Teachers can encourage shared problem-solving and combine various teaching behaviors, including modeling and demonstrating. Teachers may also participate in kids’ play and get actively involved in the process. This way, teachers can introduce creative ideas. At the same time, it’s important not to disrupt the element of improvisation.

Various engaging activities enable teachers to demonstrate subjects from the curriculum while kids are having fun. For example, teachers may explain gravity force while children are playing basketball. No matter what approach you choose, the main thing is to extend the learning experience, making it more engaging and comprehensive.

To answer the question “what does intentional teaching mean?” you should just keep in mind that it’s children-centered and goal-oriented. All the interactions in class should be tailored to the kids’ needs and aimed to improve their knowledge or skills in a specific area. Therefore, teachers should create supportive environments for exploring specific subjects.

  1. Intentional assessment

Well-thought-out curriculum decisions are impossible without assessing the specifics of children’s learning and their capabilities. Analyze your observations to track kids’ progress and make the necessary changes to the learning process. Your assessment shouldn’t necessarily be formal. Record your observations after interacting with kids or listening to them. Note their current understanding of a certain subject and determine what ideas and concepts are within their reach.

It’s also important to assess not only kids’ individual capabilities but also sources of knowledge available in their families, as well as their families’ culture, thinking of what skills might be easier to master for a certain child. You should also consider their overall wellbeing and determine what activities and habits can be beneficial for them.

  1. Intentional curriculum design

Intentional teaching also involves planning interactions related to children’s play. Teachers can integrate purposeful interactions into fun activities. If you’re going to adopt intentional curriculum design, you should plan what you’re going to say or do in each specific situation, as well as what environment will be most appropriate in this situation.

This way, you’ll be able to create meaningful experiences. For example, you can add elements of numeracy and literacy to the children’s regular fun activities. Therefore, intentional teaching activities for preschool can be especially beneficial, enabling teachers to make the learning process comprehensive without making it boring.

A very effective element of intentional teaching is questioning. You can reinforce learning goals by asking children how to achieve something that they want, how something works, or how to learn more about their favorite subject. You may also use analogies with family life and home to not only explain something but also learn more about the kids’ interests.

  1. Intentional pedagogies

You should understand how kids develop when interacting with different types of environments and choose contexts and strategies that can be useful in each particular situation. Introduce modeled play and integrate scripted elements into kids’ free play. For instance, you can initiate planned play, adding resources that will help you introduce important ideas or explain complex issues. You may also encourage roleplay and act as a guide.

Intentional teaching implies choosing pedagogies based on kids’ interests and experiences, along with clearly defined goals that are based on your assessment of their capabilities. You should engage in the learning process and add your experience and knowledge to it, without turning into the most active participant. Encourage co-creation and use organic interactions to align the learning process with the children’s imagination, interests, and intentions.

  1. Intentional evaluation

The intentional teaching approach should be used at every stage and in all aspects of the learning process. When creating intentional teaching cards, you can take into account your interactions with children and consider them in the context of the general learning goals. For example, you may notice that children have acquired some additional knowledge or developed new skills. Keep in mind that, no matter how effective your strategies are, a teacher’s efforts cannot always be successful so you need some patience.

Evaluation is an integral part of intentional teaching because the learning experience should be dynamic, and you must always adapt it to the kids’ needs and capabilities. Reflect on your observations and respond to them in a personalized way. You should always evaluate not only kids’ progress but also your interactions with them so that you can abandon practices that don’t bring the desired results and come up with new solutions.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we answered the question “What is intentional teaching?” and considered the key approaches used by intentional teachers to achieve the best results. If you’re looking for new teaching practices that can increase the effectiveness of the learning process while also making it more engaging, the concept of intentional teaching can provide you with many useful ideas. Teachers can be actively involved in the learning process and make sure that all activities in the classroom serve a specific purpose. The main thing is to consider children’s knowledge, needs, and interests, using this information to communicate more information.

What Is Whole Brain Teaching and How Does It Work?

The modern educational system faces more and more challenges every year, and not all of these challenges are easy to address. As a result, many teachers get disappointed in the existing approaches that fail to solve problems that have existed for many years. Corporal punishment hasn’t been used for many years, and now teachers also have to stop using withholding recess as punishment, as well. Maintaining discipline and keeping kids engaged becomes more difficult than ever. A quickly growing number of kids diagnosed with ADHD, autism, and ADD makes the situation even more challenging for teachers.

There’s no surprise that many educators feel frustrated when seeing college freshmen who are completely unprepared for their higher education. As for the elementary teachers, they are happy to use any methods that can help them keep the classroom engaged, no matter how well these methods fulfill the students’ educational needs. For many teachers, students being cooperative and sitting still behind their desks is what they want but rarely see in reality.

Experienced teachers are always happy to learn about new methods that promise an opportunity to improve discipline in class. At the same time, experienced teachers always take the news about another revolutionary approach with a grain of salt. Fortunately, sometimes, new approaches actually help solve some common issues in the classroom, and this is the case with whole brain teaching strategies.

Whole brain teaching was developed by three teachers from California who addressed some problems familiar to thousands of teachers from all over the world. This approach is aimed to make children not only listen to what you say but also move with you and stay engaged. Lots of engaging activities allow teachers to use whole brain teaching for challenging kids, while whole brain teaching classroom rules make this approach perfect for teachers who struggle with maintaining discipline.

What Is Whole Brain Teaching?

This is an instructional method that became very popular thanks to the popularity of social-emotional learning. Whole brain teaching makes the learning process much more energetic and engaging. The learning process to a large extent relies on mimicry and it’s based on the neuroscientific features of the human brain. The more boring the lessons, the less effective they are. The whole brain teaching definition is perfectly reflected in the very name of this approach because it’s aimed to engage every area of a child’s brain. 

Generally, this approach is based on authority. Students are constantly reminded that their teacher is the ultimate authority. Teachers answer any of their students’ questions and facilitate the learning process, but whole brain teaching is generally teacher-centered. Of course, establishing authority in class is a common challenge, so the whole brain teaching approach utilizes several effective techniques. For instance, the class should be immediately introduced to the “Class Yes” technique.

Thanks to “Class Yess,” students get used to answering the teacher immediately, at any given moment. The teacher says “Class,” and all students should immediately answer “Yes.” Students should also use the same tone as their teacher. If the teacher shouts “Class!,” all students must shout “Yes!,” and if the teacher speaks quietly, all students should also answer quietly. 

Although such an approach may look a little silly, this is exactly what makes it effective. According to the creator of this method Chris Biffle, teachers should make their classes more engaging and less boring by delivering unexpected moments of fun and joy. Briffle also describes many useful games in his whole brain teaching book. “Class Yes” not only makes lessons less boring but also gives teachers a great opportunity to immediately get their students’ attention whenever they need it. The high engagement of this approach is a reason why many educators use whole brain teaching in kindergarten. 

How to Implement Whole Brain Teaching?

We’ve already mentioned the “Class Yes” technique so let’s take a look at other strategies used in whole brain teaching.

  • Mirror Words

The teacher says “Mirror Words” and lifts their hands. The students repeat the phrase and lift their hands too. After this, they repeat the teacher’s words and mimic their gestures. This is a great example of the whole brain teaching principle that implies engaging multiple areas of students’ brains at once.

  • Direct Instruction

The more you talk to the students, the less focused they become. The Direct Instruction technique is all about presenting information in an engaging and digestible way. For instance, you can present one point at a time, using very short lessons. You can also go through a list of bullet points. You can also use Mirror Words and Class Yes to summarize the material of a lesson, and illustrate your material with slides so that students will retain more information.

  • Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning means that students get knowledge and instructions not only from their teacher but also from each other, as well. The collaborative learning principle of whole brain teaching can be illustrated by one of its distinctive techniques Teach Okay. When the teacher says “Teach,” students respond “okay” and start teaching each other, using large gestures. This technique enables students to train their oral skills and to better comprehend the material they’ve just learned from the teacher.

  • Character Education

When the teacher says “Please,” students respond “Okay.” When the teacher says “Thank you,” students reply “You’re welcome.” When the teacher praises the students’ work, they say “Thank you.” The same approach used in Class Yes and Teach Okay can help teach children mutual respect and help in character development.

What Are the Rules of Whole Brain Teaching?

If you do some whole brain teaching research and watch whole brain teaching videos, you will quickly realize that this approach is not only about having fun but also about strict rules that ensure discipline and connect teachers and students. A teacher should do rule call out from time to time so that students will memorize and repeat the rules. Whenever a certain rule is broken, the whole class recites this rule. This practice eliminates the element of conflict while also uniting the students behind the teacher’s leadership.

  1. Follow directions quickly
  2. Raise your hand to speak
  3. Raise your hand to leave your seat
  4. Make smart choices
  5. Make our dear team stronger
  6. Keep your eye on the target

While most of these rules are self-explanatory, rules four and five deserve more attention. Rule four is very powerful, and it refers to all areas of students’ lives, including lessons, the time they spend at home, and the time they spend on the internet. Children should always look for the smartest solutions, making smart choices.

Rule five is mostly intended for the students who question the rest of the rules. No matter what rule is broken, students will often say that they didn’t do anything wrong. Rebels may think that they make smart choices, and they may argue with you. Therefore, you need the main rule that cannot be disputed under any circumstances. Children should understand that, if they deny breaking whole brain teaching rules or argue with you, they don’t make the team stronger. This rule will help you stop any argument.

Wrapping Up

Whole brain teaching is a very effective approach because it’s engaging and well-structured. The whole brain teaching techniques can help teachers address many common issues and make sure that all students remain actively involved in the learning process.

How to Teach Cursive Writing to Children

Modern children rarely need to use cursive handwriting skills. Kids are using their smartphones and tablets all the time, and keyboarding skills have become much more important for employees than handwriting. At the same time, research data shows that handwriting cursive letters is very beneficial for children’s development. Handwriting combines different activities because kids need to draw shapes of letters with their hands while tracking the movement of the pen and formulating phrases. Handwriting can also improve memory.

Cursive and manuscript handwriting positively impact children’s overall cognitive development. According to numerous studies, one of the key differences between writing and typing is that the former establishes a connection between the left and right hemispheres. This connection is achieved by engaging areas of the brain responsible for language and memory. A 2014 study demonstrated that students who hand-wrote their notes showed better performance than those who typed notes on their laptops.

Nevertheless, cursive handwriting has already become strongly associated with the past. While some schools excluded cursive lessons from their curricula completely, other schools allocate less time for handwriting, even when it comes to early grades. Given that a cursive lesson can be especially beneficial for a young child, parents who are interested in their children’s development often want to know how to teach cursive writing to kindergarten children. Teaching handwriting to the third and fourth grades can also improve writing comprehension.

Even though many schools don’t teach kids cursive writing anymore, parents can do it at home. The best thing about teaching your kids at home is that you can make these lessons engaging and fun. However, you should also come up with a well-thought cursive writing lesson plan and be patient. Before you start your lessons, evaluate your child’s overall motor skills. Before introducing cursive letters, you should also make sure that your child has mastered print handwriting.

How to Teach Cursive Writing at Home

  1. Show the right grip

First of all, your kid should learn the right grip. This way, the writing process will become more enjoyable and efficient. Your child should hold a pen or pencil with the thumb and index finger, supporting the grasp with the middle finger.

To help your child master the tripod grip, show them how you hold a pencil. Ask them to pick the pencil with a simple pinch, and then let the pencil rest on the middle finger. It can be difficult for your kid to learn the right grip without a good pen or pencil. Let them try several pens and pencils so that they can choose the most comfortable one.

  1. Provide the necessary tools

To make the learning processes as effective as possible, you should make sure that your child can focus on handwriting without being bothered by any details, such as an uncomfortable pen. Your child shouldn’t apply too much pressure to draw a stroke. When it comes to stationery, many parents don’t know whether they should choose pens or pencils.

Pencils offer several advantages. First, a good pencil will enable your child to draw letters easily. Secondly, they will be able to use an eraser to quickly fix any mistakes. Learning is impossible without making errors so being able to fix them is important.

  1. Introduce one letter at a time

When kids learn cursive handwriting, they basically need to re-learn the entire alphabet, so every letter deserves proper attention. Introduce letters one after another, and make sure that your child has mastered the previous letter before introducing the next one.

  1. Group similar letters

You can purchase cursive writing worksheets and you can also make your own worksheets. When choosing worksheets, keep in mind that it will be easier for your kid to master cursive writing if they practice writing letters that look similar. We suggest that you start with lowercase letters that have common patterns, like c, o, g, etc. Start with the simplest letters and then introduce more complex ones.

Once your child has mastered the lowercase letters, focus on the uppercase letters. After this, teach your child to combine uppercase and lowercase letters so that they will get used to writing sentences.

  1. Use rewriting

When your child knows how to handwrite all the letters of the alphabet and how to combine different letters in sentences, it’s time for practice. Let your child rewrite simple sentences, and make sure to monitor their progress. After you see satisfying results with simple sentences, switch to rewriting short paragraphs, and then longer paragraphs. Learning cursive handwriting is all about practice, and you must make sure that your child practices handwriting on a daily basis.

Wrapping Up

Although most children don’t learn cursive handwriting at school, it is very beneficial for their development. We hope that our tips will help you teach your child cursive writing. No matter whether you want to know how to teach cursive writing to 3rd graders or younger children, the learning process will involve a lot of re-learning. Cursive writing is different from print handwriting, and it takes a lot of practice. Therefore, don’t forget to be patient and provide all the necessary assistance.

Understanding the Process of Learning through the Conscious Competence Model

A guest post by Silvia Woolard

Teachers keep exploring different methods of learning. Not only because they are life-long learners, but also because the best learning methods lead to the ultimate teaching methods.

Today, we’re going to explore a model we’ve all relied on in one way or another. Still, most of us are not even aware of the theory behind that practice, and we haven’t been implementing all stages properly. I’m talking about the conscious competence model, AKA the conscious competence matrix or the conscious competence ladder.

Let’s set terminology aside and focus on what’s really important: how can this model help you become a better teacher?

It all starts with understanding.

Understanding the Conscious Competence Model of Learning

Whenever we’re into the process of learning new skills, we go through different emotions at various stages of the journey.

If, for example, you’re trying to teach your students how to write research papers, they might underestimate the challenge at first. They think it’s enough to go through a few resources and sum up their findings. When they realize what a great research paper should look like, their emotions shift. They get overwhelmed and disheartened. Most of them would love to give up at this stage. They will complain about not having enough time, not having enough experience, and not having enough skills.

If you understand the conscious competence model, you’ll be able to encourage positive emotions and help the students get out of the negative mindset.

This model, initially founded as “four stages of teaching” was established by Martin M. Broadwell back in 1969. Later on, Noel Burch from Gordon Training International developed the theory known as “Four Stages for Learning Any New Skill.”                   

These are the four stages of learning a skill:

1. Unconscious Incompetence

At this point, the students are unskilled, but they are not aware of that fact. Just like when you present them with a new assignment and they assume it’s easy. They are blissfully ignorant of the fact that they don’t have a skill.

If you let them stay in this stage, the results won’t be pretty. They will simply assume they can do it in a day, just like they do with their usual homework assignment. So they will procrastinate and they will fail to deliver.

That’s why you need to move them out of this level. You’ll do that by showcasing the true nature of the challenge and introducing them closely to the type of work they need to do.

How do you do that?

  • Ask specific questions about their skills. If it’s a writing project, for example, ask if they have written something similar before. If it’s a social service project, ask them if they are aware of its goals and challenges.
  • Set objectives! Whenever you push your students to learn new skills, you have to introduce some expectations within a timeline. How will you measure those skills? When will you do that? This shouldn’t scare them away. You should set objectives as incentives that will push them to the next stage of the conscious competence model.

2. Conscious Incompetence

By this stage, the students realize they have to make an effort in order to learn a skill. If we continue with the research paper example, they realize that it will take way more time and way more research than they initially assumed.

This stage will be demoralizing for many of your students. They will lack the motivation to proceed. That’s why you have to push them forward.

  • Rely on affirmations. “No one was born skillful. Everyone can learn! There’s plenty of time by the deadline, so you can do it if you start today. You can do it!” When you approach the process with such a positive attitude, you’ll inspire your students to get out of this stage.
  • Develop a progressive schedule. A goal such as “write a research paper” seems overwhelming. If you break it up in smaller goals, it suddenly seems more achievable. For example, they can start by going through five resources that you’ll provide them. They will take notes. Then, they will extract the most important information. Then, they will develop an outline. These smaller goals are not that overwhelming.

3. Conscious Competence

At the conscious competence stage, the learner realizes they have the skills and knowledge needed for achieving particular goals. As they continue on the journey, they keep gaining more self-confidence.

It’s not the final stage, though. You want to keep your students moving forward!

  • Keep them focused on the progress. Remind them how they started and make them aware of the point they are currently at. Progress is a never-ending process, so you should keep pushing them to get better.
  • Give them opportunities to use the newly-acquired skills. If they wrote a research paper, the implementation of their research and writing skills doesn’t end there. Inspire them to start their own blogs and work on their own research.

4. Unconscious Competence            

At this stage, the students are able to use the new skills without making serious conscious efforts. These skills become part of who they are.

This is the stage when the students need to push themselves towards growth. How can they use this skill to build a successful career? Maybe they can use it for a personal project? Maybe it will be the starting point of the higher education journey? Many people become teachers when they reach this stage. They have skills and knowledge that they are ready to pass on to others.

From Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence – The Journey to Success

When you understand the emotional conflicts that your students face in different stages of the learning process, you’ll be able to take proper actions to motivate them.

There’s a lot of theory involved in this model, but its practical implementations are immense. You’ve probably noticed these stages before, but maybe you weren’t fully aware of them. Now that you are, it’s time to bring the theory to practice.

My Bio:

Silvia Woolard is a young passionate writer at Superior Papers from Phoenix. In her free time, she writes and works in a field of popular psychology. Feel free to contact Silvia at Twitter.  

The IKEA Effect of Lesson Creation

The following is an excerpt from my new book, Leave School At School: Work Less, Live More, Teach Better. It’s available in both Kindle and print forms on Amazon.

I eat in the teachers’ lounge, and almost every day someone brings in one of those Lean Cuisine frozen lunches and pops it in the microwave.  You can trace the origins of such convenience foods to the years following World War II. The military had developed MREs and other foods meant to withstand long periods of storage and allow for easy preparation on the battlefield. After the war, several commercial food companies had leftover manufacturing facilities, so some of them created new freeze-dried and canned food products for domestic use. They pumped out boxes of fish sticks, canned peaches, and even ill-fated cheeseburgers-in-a-can. Jell-o introduced new dessert flavors throughout the 1950s. Sales soared.

With so many new products to sell, advertisements swept across the amber waves and purple mountains, reminding Americans again and again how busy they were, how hectic their days had become, and how desperately they needed quick meals. “If you’re a typical modern housewife, you want to do your cooking as fast as possible,” wrote a columnist at Household magazine who was promoting instant coffee and canned onion soup. Kellogg’s even created cereal that could be served faster. Their ads claimed that busy moms loved their presweetened Corn Pops. Because who had time for the laborious task of sprinkling on a spoonful of sugar?

TV dinners. Minute rice. Instant potatoes. “Hot breads—in a jiffy!” All were peddled to harried housewives who just didn’t have enough hours in the day to cook like their mothers had. “It’s just 1-2-3, and dinner’s on the table,” exclaimed an article in Better Homes & Gardens. “That’s how speedy the fixing can be when the hub of your meal is delicious canned meat.” [1]

But the faster the cooking, the less it felt like real cooking and the greater the potential for guilt on the part of the homemaker. That was the problem with instant cake mix. Intended to save busy housewives time by simply adding water to a mix, stirring, and popping in the oven, instant cake mix seemed like a fantastic idea. But sales fizzled after a few years. It turned out that TV dinners or the kids’ cereal were one thing, but a cake — well, that was another matter. Any homemaker worth her salt wouldn’t make a generic cake from a box that couldn’t be distinguished from a cake baked by the guests she was serving it to.

When marketers dove in to uncover what went wrong with cake mix, they discovered that it was too easy. The solution was simple: Have the baker add an egg. Once the powdered egg was removed from the mix, sales recovered and instant cake mixes became a mainstay in nearly every home in America. By adding one step to the mixing process, homemakers felt they were really baking again.

The cake mix lesson has since been repeated many times over. Build-a-Bear sends you the raw materials and the directions, but it’s up to you to actually build the bear. Cooks at “patron-prepared” restaurants like Mongolian Barbecue will cook the food for you, but only after you select the ingredients. City-dwellers take “Haycations,” where they pay farmers to do their work for them. And of course, there’s IKEA, which sells furniture at a discount because buyers have to build their own bookcases, cabinets, and tables. In each of these instances, people seem to place more value on items to which they have contributed some labor.

With this in mind, three psychologists, Michael Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely, conducted a series of studies to find out whether consumers would, in fact, pay more money for products they themselves assembled. The research consisted of three different experiments.

In the first experiment, researchers found that participants were willing to pay 63% more for furniture they had built over furniture that came pre-assembled.

In the second experiment, Norton, Mochon, and Ariely asked subjects to make origami frogs or cranes. They then asked the subjects how much they were willing to pay for their own work. Following this, researchers gathered another group of volunteers who had not created any origami. These new subjects were asked how much they were willing to pay for origami built by the participants. Then the researchers asked how much they were willing to pay for origami built by an expert. These people, who had no personal connection to the creations, were willing to pay more for the expert’s products, which is exactly what one would expect. The participants who had made the origami frogs and cranes were then shown a display of origami that consisted of one set they had built themselves and one set that had been built by the experts. They were asked to bid on the different origami. The builders perceived the origami they had created as being of equal quality to those created by the pros.

The results of these studies suggest that when people construct a particular product, even if they do a cruddy job of it, they will value it more than if they had not put any effort into its creation.

Participants, wrote Norton and colleagues, “saw their amateurish creations as similar in value to experts’ creations, and expected others to share their opinions.”

The psychologists dubbed this the IKEA effect.

Two Problems For Teachers

There are two problems the IKEA effect creates for teachers. The first is that what you make is likely not nearly as good as you think it is. Your rubric is not better than another teacher’s. You just think it is because you made it. Same goes for everything else you’ve created. You would almost assuredly be better off using a product made by someone else. And as much as you don’t want to hear it, you’d be best off using products created by people whose job is to create those products. So while it may offend your sensibilities, stick with the program your district spent thousands of dollars on because it’s probably better than anything you’re going to design.

The second lesson is that there is a cost to spending time creating stuff. If you spend an hour making a magnetism unit because you tell yourself it will be better than anything you currently have in your filing cabinet or that you can find online, then you’ve lost the opportunity to spend that hour doing other things. You could have used the time on something that will make a difference for your students. You could have spent it doing an activity you enjoy. You could have even taken a nap during that hour and gone to work the next day better rested. The science is harsh but clear: If you’re a teacher who creates his own materials, you’re wasting your most precious resource making stuff that isn’t very good, in spite of the fact that you can find better resources with a few clicks of your mouse, or even more simply, by opening your teacher’s guide.

For the teacher looking to improve his effectiveness while spending less time working, the IKEA effect gives you permission to stop making stuff and steal (or purchase) from others.


[1] Shapiro, Laura. Something from the oven: reinventing dinner in 1950s America. Penguin Books, 2005.

Not Every Lesson is a Lexus

It’s the holiday season, which means you’ve no doubt been reminded about Lexus’s “December to Remember” sales event. The commercials have become as much of a holiday tradition as decorating trees, lighting menorahs, and racking up consumer debt.

I am sure it’s nice to own a Lexus. They seem like very fine automobiles. You can get one with steering assist, intelligent high-beam headlamps, a center-console app suite that allows you to check Facebook or local fuel prices, parking assist systems, ambient interior lighting, and genuine wood accents, among many other options.

Sounds nice.

But nobody really needs a Lexus.

I have a car. It is not a Lexus. It’s old, paid for, and gets decent gas mileage. Most importantly, it reliably gets me where I need to go. Sure, the other stuff would be nice, but if the car doesn’t run, none of those options are going to matter.

It reminds me of lesson planning. Teachers sometimes get the message that every lesson has to be a Lexus. Teacher preparation programs are guilty. So are professional books on the topic. If you search online for lesson plan templates, you’ll get things like this (obviously created by someone who either never taught or who dropped dead from exhaustion):

Lots of features. But none of them matter if kids don’t learn what they’re supposed to learn.

Not every lesson has to be a Lexus. Most of the time, a reliable old beast is just fine. Here’s an example:

For the past couple of years, I’ve taught force and motion. One of the standards is for students to be able to understand the concept of balanced and unbalanced forces.

I thought tug-of-war would be perfect. So the first year I taught it, I planned out everything. I thought of the contests students would have and tried to push them into thinking of the same ones (shoes vs. socks, boys vs. girls, left hand vs. right hand, etc.). I decided on the teams ahead of time. I booked the gym and secured the rope. I typed up a list of expectations for behavior and we went over them before going to the gym. I noted what vocabulary I wanted to use with students. I created a worksheet for students to record the results, write down observations and explanations, and note any questions they still had.  I created a rubric so I could grade them on their understanding of the concept. That lesson was a Lexus, baby!

And it went fine. But man, I spent a lot of time creating it. Which, if you’ve ever read this blog before, you know how I feel about that.

Teachers sometimes forget there are trade-offs to every decision. Sure, you can spend an hour designing and preparing for a single lesson. But is that the best use of your time? Are there ways you can cut your prep time so you have more time for other things, including your personal life? Will spending an extra 30 minutes designing a lesson actually lead to more learning? How much more? Is that much worth it?

Does every lesson need to be a Lexus?

We still do the tug-of-war lesson, but these days it takes about ten minutes of planning. The lesson is more like my actual car now. Not as impressive to outsiders but it gets the job done. After all, students just needed to understand the concept of balanced and unbalanced forces. Not exactly rocket science.

Instead of thinking of the experiments and trying to guide students to them, I just let the kids think of them to start with. This past year, they came up with one-arm vs two-arms and facing forward vs. facing backward, two ideas I wouldn’t have thought of.

Instead of creating a worksheet, they just take a notebook to the gym and write down the answers to my prompts and questions after each experiment.

Instead of a list of expectations, I basically have one: Stop on the whistle and then follow directions. If you can’t do that, I won’t pick you to participate in the rope tugging.

Instead of choosing teams ahead of time, I just pick them right there in the gym.

The fancy options aren’t important. The learning is what matters. And asking students to do more while I do less is a good way to increase learning while saving my own time and energy for other things.

Lexus’s slogan is “The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection.” Sounds good. But it’s exhausting. Your lessons can always be better. You can always do more. There are always more features you can add. But sometimes, you just need the thing to get you where you’re going.

The Benefits of Doing Nothing

Walk into any classroom and you are likely to see the teacher doing stuff. They’re lecturing, meeting with students, conferencing, planning, assessing, entering data, designing units, or circulating throughout the room. Few teachers give themselves permission to do nothing. But they should. Doing nothing is important.

When I say doing nothing, I of course mean doing nothing outwardly.  While it may appear that we our sitting at our desks and counting the ceiling tiles, our brains are busy at work.

The reality is that teachers don’t spend enough time thinking because we’re so busy doing.

Our Best Ideas

Our best ideas often come to us when we are idle. Before I started this blog, I was an aspiring novelist. In the course of telling a story, I’d often get stuck. I couldn’t figure out what should happen next. The worst thing I could do was think more about the problem. Usually, my best ideas came when I left the work alone and did something mindless. It’s hard to come up with great ideas when we’re under pressure to do so.

The same thing happens with teaching. I have very few innovative ideas in February. But in the summer, when my mind is rested and I’m not stressed out from long days in the classroom, I regularly come up with new things to try for the upcoming school year. Teachers need to set aside time to just sit and think.

Sitting and thinking, instead of always doing, provides teachers with the mental space to be creative. I keep a notebook where I write down things to try in the classroom, and once a month I force myself to just sit and think of stuff. Ideas can come from books, blogs, colleagues, social media, or my favorite place, left field.


Time to think allows teachers to actually reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. We’re all told how important it is to reflect on our lessons. It’s part of every teacher evaluation system I know of. But most teachers roll their eyes and think, “Yeah, right. And when am I supposed to do that?”

They ask that question because they don’t give themselves permission to do nothing. For most teachers, the thought of their principal walking in and seeing them sitting down and staring off into space is scary. We feel like we must always be working, and we fail to realize that thinking counts.

Time to think and reflect also lets teachers revisit their vision for the classroom to see if this year’s group is still on track or if things have gone off the rails and a recommitment is necessary. Every year, I write down my personal goals and the vision I have for my room. But once caught up in the day-to-day grind, I sometimes find myself just plugging along without thinking about the big things I want my room to be about. Without time to sit and think, I lose track of where I’m supposed to be leading my students.

Time to think can also save us trouble down the road. Taking a few minutes to think instead of responding emotionally to a student’s misbehavior, or a parent’s disrespectful email, or an administrator’s new idea can mean the difference between having a job and not having one.

When Helping Doesn’t Help

Students also benefit from a teacher doing nothing. Especially at the elementary level, too many of us rush in to save a student from failure or even frustration. We don’t want our students to struggle, and when we see them doing so, we want to help. That’s how we’re built.

But failure and frustration teach, often better than we do.

Stand back. Do nothing. Send the message to your students that they can do it without you.

I can always tell if I’ve helped too much when the state test rolls around. Since I’m not allowed to help at all, those students who I’ve not allowed to struggle don’t know what to do without my assistance. They don’t know how to solve problems because I haven’t allowed them to struggle with them. I’ve failed them, not only for that test, but in some ways, for life. There won’t always be someone around to help, and some problems just require that you sit there and think.

Top 5 Online Resources for Teaching Writing

Throughout kindergarten to the final year of high school, students should have acquired appropriate vocabulary, punctuation, style, and grammar skills for essay writing. Learning and practicing skills through technology is an incentive to learning since students consider it a ‘fun’ activity. There are hundreds of websites available for teaching writing and hundreds more are continually being created as technology advances. Online resources have improved the art of writing by providing available information that would have otherwise been out of reach.

Below, you will find a list of some of the best online resources to use when teaching writing.


This website offers free writing resources as well as 8-week online writing courses. Educators use this site to impart writing skills to students. The site incorporates the use of resources such as:

  • visual aids; for example: posters, flipcharts, and slides.
  • grading conventions; for example: K-2 in primary grading.
  • writing conventions; for example: spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation.

Full guidance is provided to the student. The creative inscription, paragraph, and essay writing are inclusive in the teaching package. Time4writing.com incorporates students from elementary school to students in high school. The site focuses on assisting students to put their ideas and thoughts in order before they are conveyed to a writing surface.


This is an essay writing service that has been active since 2005. It offers professional and timely services to students who require writing services. The service opts to offer hired essay writers assignments that would otherwise be very time-consuming to a student. Solidessay.com has become one of the most reputable companies. This is mainly because work is assigned to experienced writers that hold a doctor of philosophy degree (Ph.D.) and a Master’s degree in the specified fields.

Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Purdue’s writing lab was created in 1994. It provides resources such as handouts, articles, journals, grammar and mechanics, citations and formatting styles. The teaching writing category is partitioned based on education level from grades 7-12 to college. Purdue’s OWL provides useful information to teachers and students in relation to writing. This includes instructions and formats for expository essays, email writing, letter writing, poems, etc. Basic information on writing citations and extensive research processes makes it a reliable educator to students. Students who are interested in becoming proficient in basic writing skills, formatting and styles, have a wide range of resources to acquire knowledge from.

Education Northwest

The Education Northwest website provides a writing program that focuses on the 6+1 writing traits. These traits are:

Identifying the idea and content
Structural organization of the essay
The tone and voice of the message being conveyed
The choice of vocabulary
Sentence fluency and clarity
Conventions and presentations

These qualities define standard writing. Learning experiences are catered for students in colleges as well as adults (parents and teachers). Writing skills offered to students assist in critical thinking and reasoning, especially in real life experiences. The website’s core resources are the K-2 rubric and 3-12 rubric which are educator-friendly.


This is a nonprofit organization that provides writing and grammar activities for students from elementary school to high school. Educators use quill activities to jog the minds of students before and during class. The activities have been researched and approved by language instructors. With the integration of device applications that educate on vocabulary, grammar, and writing. The website is preferred by most teachers in classroom assimilation. Quill activities cover over 300 convictions on grammar giving students a substantial amount of skill and knowledge needed in writing. This website is bent on improving writing skills of students between kindergarten and grade 12. The site provides favorable circumstances by instantly grading tests and providing individualized feedbacks and instructions. This contributes to their divulging writing skills.

In this digital and modern age, students have tools and resources that assist them to become exemplary writers at their disposal. Writing is the framework of basic communication and it is important to nurture the skill at a tender age. Educators who have access to the internet and its resources, enhance the learning experience of the student while propelling the desire to express themselves through writing. Inscription skills are related to credibility. Having good writing skills is a gateway and requirement for careers such as journalism and therefore it is a skill essential to those in media-related fields.

Engagement Isn’t Everything

The contrarian in me bristles whenever any idea achieves such widespread acceptance that those who dare question it are subjected to reflexive condemnation. One idea that has gained such universal popularity in recent years is the power of engagement. Spend any time among educators, whether in person or in digital form, and you will surely hear the following sentiments passionately expressed:

  • Kids are bored because teachers’ lessons aren’t engaging.
  • Kids act out when they’re not engaged.
  • Kids cheat because the work isn’t engaging.
  • An engaged student will never give you any problems.
  • Kids hate school because they’re not engaged.

So at the risk of being ridiculed by the Engagement-is-Everything crowd, let me say that I’m skeptical.

We’re asking engagement to pull an awful lot of weight.

It’s the Wrong Word

First, let’s clear up some terminology. People who talk about engagement are often not talking about engagement. Engagement means that a student cares, that she gives a damn. Engagement ultimately comes from the learner, not the teacher. I don’t care a whit about needlepoint, and it won’t matter how much choice I’m given, how much technology gets incorporated, whether or not I get to work with my friends, how enthusiastic my needlepoint teacher is, or how much relevance she attempts to convince me needlepoint has to my life, I’m just not going to be engaged.

When some people talk about engagement, what they’re really talking about is involvement. Anita Archer, the Guru of Engagement, uses all kinds of involvement techniques that have been mislabeled engagement strategies. She keeps a brisk pace and requires a high rate of response from every student in the room. She expects attention and participation. She keeps kids on their toes. But none of those things ensure that students care about what she’s teaching; only that they’re involved. Anita Archer doesn’t do engagement. She does involvement.

The Student Owns the Learning

Perhaps that’s because Ms. Archer understands that true engagement cannot come from her. She can get students to actively participate in her vocabulary lessons, but she can’t make them care about learning the words. She can lead the horse to the very edge of the creek, but she can’t make it dip its head to drink.

The problem I have with engagement — at least, how it’s used today — is that it conveys the message that a student’s failure is his teacher’s fault.

  • It’s not a student’s fault for failing to do his job; it’s his teacher’s fault for failing to engage him.
  • It’s not a student’s fault for skipping class; it’s her professor’s fault for not making her lectures more engaging.
  • It’s not the salesman’s fault he didn’t sell anything; he just didn’t find the act of selling very engaging.
  • It’s not the teacher’s fault for showing videos all day; she just doesn’t feel engaged at work.

It’s bull.

There’s also this problem: What’s engaging for one student isn’t for another. I often see teachers on Twitter bragging about how hip they are because they incorporated fidget spinners or Pokemon Go or [insert current trendy item] into their lesson plans. But for every student who thinks a particular toy, game, or song is the greatest, there’s another who’s turned off by it.

For every student who thinks a particular toy, game, or song is the greatest, there’s another who’s turned off by it.

The Real Secret to Success

Here’s an unfortunate truth about life:

There are things we must all do even though they are not engaging. Those of us who do these things have more success in life than those who do not.

People who create and adhere to budgets have more money. Making and sticking to budgets requires self-control. Few would argue it’s engaging.

Buying groceries is almost always an awful experience, but if you don’t do it, you end up at McDonald’s, wasting money and getting fat.

Sitting through meetings requires self-discipline, and your boss may or may not care to make those meetings engaging. You better pay attention anyway.

Doing your taxes sucks. The government makes no attempt to make the process engaging. And if you decide to not file your taxes, you won’t be able to blame the government for failing to sufficiently inspire you. Sometimes, you just have to do things.

In fact,

Much of life — pretty much everything between all the awesome, engaging parts — is about self-discipline, the ability to stick with or do something well enough even though we dislike the task or find it boring.

Not Everything Needs to Engage

I’ve got nothing against making your lessons more fun or finding ways to involve your students more. There is no question that an involved student will usually learn more than an uninvolved one. Use whatever tricks you can. You can do a whole lot worse than Anita Archer when it comes to involvement.

Nor will I try to dissuade you from creating experiences for students that give them warm fuzzies, create indelible memories, and make you the kind of teacher students remember for the rest of their lives. Go for it. That’s what makes teaching and learning fun.

But let’s stop putting so many eggs in the engagement basket. Students who learn to do what needs to be done, regardless of how they feel about it, grow up to be adults who have the self-discipline to balance their checkbooks, do the laundry, get out of bed early enough to make it to work on time, get the oil in their car changed, shop for khaki pants (just me?), and clean everything from their teeth to their dishes to their toilets.

Instead of focusing so much on engagement — an endeavor that is, at best, a crap shoot — why not teach students what self-control looks like in different situations? Why not teach students that people with self-control lead more successful lives? Why not show them how to exercise self-control through talk-alouds and modeling? Why not even intentionally teach something that’s not engaging at all and explain to kids that successful people must sometimes will themselves to complete uninspiring tasks?

We don’t do students any favors when we send the message that they must always be entertained. And we’re sending our teachers the wrong message when we imply that every problem in their classroom comes back to their inability to engage their students.

We don’t do students any favors when we send the message that they must always be entertained.