When you think of writing, what stands out in your mind? Is it the words you weave together to create the perfect prose? Is it the revision process that seems to never end? Is it the teeth grinding type of memory? Or is it the wonderful feeling you get when you complete something that was completely fun?
Teaching writing can be difficult at times. Motivating students to write can seem even harder. So, how do you get the students motivated to write?
One tried and true writing lesson I have used is the Lego writing activity. The students absolutely love it, and they generate lots of talk in the hallway. If you have not used Legos or blocks in your classroom, read on.
This activity is a collaborative group activity; students are divided into groups of three and assigned a job title/task to complete during the assignment. This keeps all students actively engaged and contributing to the overall product. The three jobs are recorder, designer, and contractor.
After all jobs are chosen or assigned, I tell the students they have a super task to complete. They have to design and construct a functional item with the materials found in their group container. Not only will they just design and construct a functional item, but they will also have to write detailed instructions for other groups to be able to complete the construction of their item. Writing assignment sheets are passed out, and the students' eyes get bigger as they learn the materials are Legos (or building blocks, whatever you have on hand).
Soon, it looks like an explosion of colors as the Legos go all over the floor and desks. I usually have to take a deep breath to regain my composure (I like order, structure, and neatness.), but it is definitely worth all of the mini-anxiety attacks I go through for them to really love the activity.
Here is glimpse into the beginning of the assignment.
Here, the students are making lots of progress, and the recorder is jotting down detailed instructions.
This is a finished product from one group. It is a garage that houses a utility vehicle.
If you are interested in implementing this activity in your classroom, click HERE. This resource provides teaching tips, writing assignment sheet, writing papers, rubric, and job titles. It is a lesson your students will remember for a lifetime!