Have you wanted to try out project based learning in your classroom, but aren’t quite sure where to begin?
Jessica Waldock from The Waldock Way is sharing her awesome ideas with us in this post!
Jessica is a writer, photographer, and homeschool mom of one living in sunny Florida. She founded The Waldock Way as a way to give back to the homeschool community that she loves so much.
Her post will provide you with seven practical ideas on incorporating project based learning into your writing block!
Why Project Based Writing Works So Well
We have come to love project based learning activities. These are activities that offer real-world learning through hands-on, engaging projects our daughter Emily can really sink her teeth into. Project based learning focuses on helping students learn to use the tools they have and concepts they know to solve real-world problems.
This year, we are using project based writing ideas and activities to make writing an exciting activity that’s focused on topics our daughter is passionate about. If your students are reluctant writers, you’ll definitely want to check out these project based writing activities . It’s the perfect way to make writing practice fun again.
Project based learning is a successful method because it encourages the teacher (you) and the students to work together to complete a project or solve a problem. It’s a fun way to encourage critical thinking, motivate reluctant learners, help students build confidence, and make learning fun.
This past Christmas, we engaged in project based writing activities in a holiday card service project for wounded soldiers. Emily designed and wrote holiday cards to be delivered to service members who couldn’t be home for the holidays. This project based writing idea was the perfect opportunity to combine her love of arts and crafts with letter writing practice.
Providing writing opportunities for Emily that match up with her interests and passions has been key to motivating her to do her best. Project based writing ideas give her a chance to use her skills in a way that’s real and tangible.
Start With Writing Objectives
Before I share my favorite project based writing ideas, let’s talk a bit about writing objectives. Last year, I had certain writing goals for our homeschool and I used these project based writing ideas to focus on those goals and help Emily master them. For instance, here’s what’s on my list of writing goals in the second grade:
- Improve penmanship, accuracy, and legibility
- Experiment with many different writing projects: short stories, essays, etc.
- Letter writing in the correct format
- Identify complete and incomplete sentences
- Able to change regular verbs to their plural or past tense form
- Capitalize proper nouns
- Know and correctly use punctuation marks
What writing goals do you have for your students this year? Share your goals in the comments and keep reading to discover how these project based writing activities can help your students achieve them.
7 Project Based Writing Activities
Project based writing activities are a lot of fun and filled with opportunities to sneak in extra writing practice. Check out 7 of our favorite project based writing ideas to try with your elementary learners this year:
This one is a lot of fun for everyone! Get the kids involved in planning your next field trip or mini vacation with a project based learning activity that will really spark their imaginations. First, tell your student to think about where they would like to go for their next field trip or family vacation.
Then, have them research the place they’d like to visit. Kids can use the internet to search for information, check out books at the local library, or even ask for travel brochures from the locations they’d like to explore. Emily will always remember the time Pigeon Forge’s tourism department mailed us a stack of travel brochures for her to peruse before our upcoming trip.
Finally, have your kids get creative writing their own travel brochure complete with places to stay, things to do, and fun restaurants to try. Even if you can’t travel to the place they have chosen, planning is a whole lot of fun for everyone!
Family or Classroom Newsletter
Instead of a family Christmas card, try sending a family newsletter this year. Get your kids involved in creating a layout, choosing photos, and writing about the most important, most funny, or best memories of the past year.
If you send out a classroom newsletter, invite students to contribute to the writing! Kids will love seeing their writing come to life and then being shared with students’ families.
A family or classroom newsletter is the perfect way to build creative writing skills with your learners. Plus, it’s so fun for grandparents and cousins to read these highlights from your kids! It’s like an extra special Christmas gift just for family and friends.
Adopt a Pen Pal
Do your students have a pen pal? If not, now might be the perfect time to adopt one. You’d be surprised by how quickly your children can develop impeccable letter writing skills when they have a pen pal to respond to this year.
Plus, adopting a pen pal can be a great way to keep in touch with friends or family that don’t live nearby. You could even adopt a pen pal from another state in our country. Then, your kids can work together to learn about the place their pen pal lives. It’s a fun way to explore geography and other cultures while building important writing skills too.
Backyard Field Guide
Do you have a budding naturalist on your hands? Why not create a field guide of your backyard or the playground? It’s the perfect project based writing activity for children who love science and art. Along the way, your students can learn a lot about writing non-fiction too.
Write an Argument
I love this one! A friend told me about how she used this project based learning activity to teach her son all about the responsibility involved in caring for a pet. Here’s how it works: your student asks for a pet (expensive tech, or a trip you hadn’t planned).
Then, you use their interest as an opportunity to learn, building in project based writing along the way. Want a dog? Write an argument convincing me why you should get one. Want extra recess time? Write down reasons to make me give in!
This project based writing assignment is a great way to encourage research and practice argumentative writing with a real-world situation. Just one caveat: you’ll have to be prepared to reward their hard work and just maybe… gulp… get a dog.
Local News Story
Another fun idea for learners is to have them create a news story. Has anything interesting happened in your local community recently? Is your town or city known for something historic? This year, have your kids write a news article all about it.
This project based writing activity is perfect for kids interested in journalism or mass communications. Alternatively, your students can work together to create a local news program or bulletin all about the event complete with video footage. Now that’s some real-world writing practice everyone can have fun with this year!
A relatively easy way to explore project based learning this year is by using journals. Begin by learning about historical figures who kept journals like Catherine the Great, Marco Polo, Marie Curie, and Charles Darwin. Their journals give us glimpses into history: the people, the places, and important events.
This year, embark on a journaling adventure with your learners to chronicle your school year, family life, current events, or field trips. It’s a wonderful way to explore a wide variety of writing styles with your kids this year.
Additional Resources For Learning
If you’re loving project based learning opportunities as much as we are, you’ll definitely want to check out my unit studies. I’ve included all kinds of real-world interest based learning in every one.
There are opportunities to learn about math, science, history, geography, art and more with project based learning activities by exploring their favorite topics on a deeper level. Check out some of my favorites:
Christmas Project Based Writing Activity
Are you planning to use project based learning activities with your students this year? Share your favorite project based writing assignments in the comments. I can’t wait to read more about how you’re incorporating real-world learning too!
About Jessica and The Waldock Way:
At The Waldock Way Jessica shares tips, tricks, inspiration, and unique resources that help ignite a love of learning in children that will last a lifetime.
She inspires families to engage in homeschooling as a lifestyle where relationships come first and interest-led learning prevails. Jessica also has a fabulous collection of unit studies on her website and shares generously on her YouTube channel.
Feel free to check out Jessica at any of these sites:
Thank you so very much for this post, Jessica! If you have any questions for her, please feel free to leave them below.
I really enjoyed this article and thinking about ways to add additional writing within the classroom…yet allowing choice! I am going to try out the travel brochure during our community study (allow students to choose which community) and a family newsletter as a way for students to recap their week during a writing station.
Glad you took away some great ideas!
I love these ideas! Especially the pen pal idea!
Yes! So cute!