Best Practice Instructional Strategies (WICOR)- Writing

These instructional strategies are organized into 5 areas applicable to any subject area: Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, Reading.


  • MEAL Poster:  MEAL is a writing formula that can be used to craft paragraphs and essays.
  • Gallery Walk– Students walk around and read the work done by their peers. They could look for something specific, take notes, leave comments or just appreciate the other work.
  • Student Editors– Either as a writing workshop or passing writing in a circle, have students look for specific uses of grammar, conventions, or descriptive writing and use different symbols to mark these. A pair of students could be the ‘expert’ of one thing while another pair looks for something else and then it continues to be passed around.
  • Vote!- Read aloud, in pairs, or pass the notebooks: have students vote on something (you could tell them this ahead of time or not). Possible topics: most interesting, realistic, descriptive, provocative, funniest, well-written, best summary, shortest, etc. This can be done as a whole class or in small groups which could lead to whole class eventually (best of 2, 4, 8, etc.)
  • Chalk Talk on Writing– Have students comment on other students’ writing, ask questions, underline interesting lines or main idea, etc. Then pass again and have another student attempt to answer that question, make another comment, etc.
  • Journal Write/Free Write- Students can write for a period of time about a topic (ex: food). No stopping! Then they can read back through and underline their favorite part (or another student can choose for them). That can lead to the topic sentence of a paragraph or essay.
  • Using Past Writing as Essay: Have students look back through their writing (in journal, etc.). They pick one entry and turn it into an essay.
  • Partner Share: Students share writing in pairs or small groups, reading aloud or switching and reading quietly. Partners react on paper, share out loud what the other person read, ask questions, etc.
  • Classroom Publication/Newsletter: With each assignment or on some sort of a regular schedule, select a student’s work to publish. At the end of the year give each student a compilation of the best work from the class.
  • Illustrate writing: Students illustrate their descriptive paragraphs. Alternatively, pass a paper: one student underlines a descriptive line, the next person has to illustrate just that line.
  • Loop Writing- Students write, re-read what they wrote, and underline key phrases. That becomes the new topic sentence.
  • Topic Notebooks- Have topic notebooks that students can choose to write in depending on the day to just get them writing.
  • Research Questions: Students have to write specific questions after reading informational writing. Original authors have to research the answers to the questions and present back the next day.
  • Create: Students develop a song, skit, game, video, collage, poster, poem, or book with writing.

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