Friday, January 13, 2012

Top Tips for Boys Writing - Lately

January is a month for planning and reflection as we look back on writing successes and look ahead for what will be.

In a previous post I summarized 23 Top Tips for Boys Writing from the 98 page Me Read? And How! document which has been the most popular post on this blog for months.

Since I'm back in the grade 6 classroom once a week for media literacy and technology instruction, I thought I'd list the top tips I've used during the first term, September to December 2011.

1. Boys who were allowed to choose writing topics showed increased motivation and engagement. Page 10

I've been a little conservative on this one but on occasion I've let boys, and other students in the class choose their own topics. To be fair, I come up with the structure of the writing during my day with the grade 6 students and the students provide the content.

4. Boys planned their writing using graphic organizers both individually and in pairs. Page 17

We have used SMART Ideas graphic organizer software on many occasions to brainstorm and pre-write our particular topics.

10. Boys use of debate to discuss authentic and relevant issues transferred into their non-fiction persuasive writing. Page 35

We did one debate in the classroom during first term. This is one the students enjoyed. I'll need to plan for another this term.

16. Boys like to write about exaggerations, humour, silly writing, rap songs, procedural writing, short scenes. Page 51

We had several of these types of writing assignments during first term including writing a step by step, "Teach Me Something" piece, a two-voicer radio commercial and some short scenes for anti-bullying videos the students created.

17. ICT in the form of computers, blogs, wikis, and digital voice recorders have been used with boys to reinforce writing skills. Page 53.

We use blogs, digital voice recorders and computers every day for our writing. In particular, we used Audacity voice recording software and recording headsets to record many of our writing assignments including our radio commercials and memoirs.

20. Boys who design and play video games develop sophisticated operational, cultural and critical literacy skills. Page 57

We started a video game design, review and evaluation unit just before the break. This is new ground for me. The students of course, love it.

So these are the top six that jump out of the page as I write this post. I'll need to incorporate more of the 23 top tips during my planning for second and third term.

How many of the top tips have you been using?


  1. Hi Kent,
    I attended one of your sessions at last year's ECOO conference and I'm pretty sure I got the idea from you. It combines #1, #16 and #17 from your list above. I basically showed my Grade 4's a long list of unique forms of writing they could choose. One of my suggestions was to imagine their favourite athlete, TV star or musician and then write an interview with that person. The kids ran with it! Kids wrote the script and then recorded their interviews using our class iPod Touch. Our next step will be to add sound effects and some kind of theme song. Keep the great ideas coming on your blog!

  2. Hi Marie,

    Thank you for connecting again and for your kind comments.

    The writing you did with your grade 4s is a perfect example of how to motivate and engage. Choice is so important, eh? I find in my class that choice trumps all.

    Did you use a particular interview format? If you did, I'd sure be interested in stealing it from you!

    With the power of iDevices, it opens up a new world. We just started a Bring Your Own Device model at our school, and recording on student owned and school devices is on my list of to dos this term.

    Again, thanks for sharing your example. And let's keep the conversation going.


  3. Very useful post.Its been awesome to read..