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For Teachers Updated November 21, 2017

5 Innovative Ways to Teach Second Grade Writing

By The Room 241 Team February 1, 2013

This post has been updated for accuracy and relevance as of November 2017.

From storytelling and absorbing new vocabulary words to practicing proper grammar and learning the rules of punctuation, writing can be an absolute joy for second grade students. They’re energetic and imaginative, and writing allows them to express themselves and venture into new worlds.

That said, it’s important to keep the instruction of writing fresh and engaging, so that your second graders respond well and learn what they need to learn. So what are some innovative ways to help them learn (and fall in love with) the craft of writing?

Check out some of Concordia’s favorite ideas.

1. The “Picture This” game

To play this game, start by scanning or photocopying images of famous works of art. You can also collect photographs of different houses or clip pictures from magazines. Next, ask each student to choose a picture they feel drawn to and write a story about it. If the picture has people in it and you know who they are, explain their relationships to the student. If they choose a house photo, have the students create a descriptive story about where it is and what sort of people might live there. For a more neutral photo, you could ask the student to create a story that is funny, scary, or hard to believe— perhaps something that’s already happened or is about to happen in this specific place.

2. Writing letters

Learning how to write letters early in life teaches second graders about writing in a fun and purposeful way, but also how to stay in touch with others. Writing a letter will allow your second graders to practice their penmanship, learn how to format a letter, and how to  describe what’s going on in their lives. The letters can take the form of a general keeping-in-touch letter, a thank you note (if they recently received a present from a relative), a letter about a recent family vacation, or a gratitude note to a parent.

3. The surprise me game

For this game, divide a stack of index cards into thirds. Hand out the first batch of cards to your students and ask them to write down the name of a place of their choice. It can be a geographical location anywhere in the world, or a local physical setting—literally anywhere the child chooses.

Next, collect the location cards, then hand out the second stack of cards and have the students write down an occupation. For the remaining third stack of cards, ask them to choose and write down an object—any object at all. Once all the cards have been collected, have students select a card from each of the three stacks, and then write short stories using elements from all three cards they choose.

4. The story of me

An autobiography allows students to write a first-person story about themselves, their family, pets, friends, house, favorite toys, or anything else they wish to share. Encourage your students to be as descriptive as possible. Once they are finished, collect the stories, hand them out randomly, and have each student read the story they are given out loud. Then have rest of the class try and guess who each story author is. This can be a fun assignment during the first month of school to help students get to know each other!

5. Future reviewers

Have your students write a review of the latest movie, TV show, or cartoon they have seen, or the latest book they have read. Reviews should discuss plot, characters, how the story turned out, and how many “stars” they give it on a scale of 1 to 5. (This is another great way to get conversations going that can form friendships over shared interests!)

As you well know, teaching second grade writing doesn’t need to be intimidating or boring. Try out one of these techniques, or create one of your own. Anything goes! Your students will appreciate it, and they’ll love writing in no time.

Want more ideas on how to improve your instruction and help your students really thrive in the classroom and beyond? Explore Concordia’s online MEd programs. Accredited, nonprofit, and founded upon Lutheran values, Concordia’s College of Education offers 100% online MEd programs you can complete in about a year.

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