It’s easy to lose track of time when students are working on a writing task.

Suddenly, a project that you thought would take a week or two has stretched out to three, four, or…will it ever be finished?

Use a writing scheduler with your students to help keep writing tasks on track.

The danger of long writing assignments

It’s not the number of pages, but the number of days or weeks that students are working on a project that will spell doom, boredom…and an eventual end to the work and energy they are willing to put into an assignment.

When you keep your writing assignments moving forward, the writing process stays fresh and your students are less likely to get bored with the topic.

Bottom line:

They’ll work faster, they’ll learn more, practice writing more, and you’ll work through standards more effectively.

In order for that to happen, you need to organize writing assignments before your students start working on them.

Follow these steps

Use a Writing Scheduler to keep writing projects under control.

1.  When you begin planning a writing project, sit down and think about all the components necessary to bring this to completion.  

How many conferences do you want?  Peer reviews?  Graphic organizers?

Make a list of everything you want to include.

>> As you are making your list, use your standards. You want to make sure you are hitting those.

Don’t forget to look at language standards. You may want students to focus on sentence variety or using active voice.

2.  Use a calendar to map out those steps.

3. Build in some “catch up” time by adding “work days.”

This allows you the flexibility to either move forward, add re-teaching lessons or conferences, or you may simply want a day where students are working on their writing in class.

4. Then plug in the writing goals and dates in the writing scheduler.

Keep it simple enough to allow for flexibility. If you want students to work at their own pace, you can include that — if you want them to check in with you before progressing, you can include that on your list as well.

5. Give your students a copy of the schedule.

If you use folders to help students organize their drafts, students can staple the writing scheduler into their writing folders.  

Letting your students know the timeline for the project, helps them understand what they should be working on during writing workshop.

Be ready for changes

Of course, the best laid plans…as they say.  

Don’t be too upset if you need to change dates, but don’t shy away from keeping your students on their organized writing schedule.  

Give it a try! 

Need more help teaching writing?

You can find ready-to-teach lessons in my shop along with a free writing scheduler that you can download and use today.

With gratitude,

3 Comments on How to plan effective student writing projects

  1. I always write things down or I’ll forget, too; terrific strategy to teach your students time management!

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