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  #1  
Old 02-04-2013, 06:01 AM
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DrivingPigeon DrivingPigeon is offline
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Incredibly reluctant writer...at a loss

(I'm sorry this ended up being so long! )

There is a student in my class who is a very reluctant writer. He always claims that he can't think of anything to write, gets a puzzled look on his face, and then just sits there.

In the beginning of the year, I noticed that his handwriting was very bad (I made a post asking for suggestions). He has been doing Handwriting Without Tears intervention for the past 8 weeks or so, and his handwriting has improved immensely! I thought that getting the handwriting under control may help his writing, but it has not.

Then I thought it may be a language processing/retrieval/memory issue, so I had him go through a speech and language evaluation. Everything came out fine on that end, too.

Some other things I have tried (that have all failed):
-Having him type a story. My class has a subscription to the website Wixie. All of the other students are highly motivated to use the site, but this student is not.
-Having him dictate a story, while another adult types.
-Having him speak into a microphone to record a story (students do this in Wixie, as well).
-He loves drawing, so I tried to get him to draw first, and then write about his drawings.

Because coming up with an idea for writing is half the struggle with kids this age, I have done a number of things throughout the year to help my students with this: ponder pockets, heart maps, lists of important people and places, sentence builders, story starters, etc. I also have a number of (usually) highly-motivating writing options for independent work on writing time: pictures of animals with writing prompts, silly story starters, creative thinking starters, cartoon story starters, comic strips, Draw then Write, etc. For a while I thought that maybe he had too many options, so I had him focus on one or two choices only, but that didn't work.

Whenever I do a writing project, I start with a graphic organizer. I walk students through it one step at a time. He can usually fill out the graphic organizer ok (it's a struggle, but it gets done). However, when it is time to put it together to make a story, he just copies his notes. He ends up with a story that is 4 sentences long. Whenever I prompt him to add details with sensory words (we have lists of sensory words), or onomatopoeia words (they have their own onomatopoeia dictionaries that we add to frequently), he says that he can't think of anything. Even when I pretty much tell him the words to write, he won't write.

With the story we most recently wrote, I had him work with the literacy specialist, because I am at a loss. SHE is at a loss, too, and doesn't have any suggestions for me. She couldn't get him to write a darn thing, either!

What now?!! I feel like I am at the point where he is just being lazy and stubborn. He does not have any other behavior or academic concerns-just writing! I do not know what to do to motivate him. I'm to the point where I may just start punishing him. Maybe he has to stay in for part of recess every day until his story is written to meet 2nd grade standards. Or maybe I start giving him multiple choice options (characters are a, b, or c, setting is a, b, or c).
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2013, 01:51 PM
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FourSquare FourSquare is offline
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7th Grade Special Education
Have you tried a good old fashioned bribe? One of my kids was playing these games too and you wouldn't believe all the paragraphs he wrote for a bag of hot chips!

This wont work forever, but at least you'll get a sense of what he's truly capable of.
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2013, 05:00 PM
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czacza czacza is offline
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Generate a lst of writing ideas as a class. Chart and hang up.

Kids who can't come up with a writing idea in my class are told pick something from the list or write about their breakfast. They usually come up with an idea.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:17 PM
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WindyCityGal606 WindyCityGal606 is offline
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Things that make me happy, sad, mad, afraid are 4 great IDEAS LIST generators. Make 4 sheets large paper each labeled with one of the 4 moods and lay it on the floor. Have students take a marker and allow them to travel from paper to paper in random groups formed from counting off 1,2, 3, 4, 5, etc... Set a visual timer on the projector screen and designate a set time at each paper. After each group has had the chance to visit each paper and write freely, as a class, organize the ideas in quadrants with a list of their contributions in each quadrant. Your room now has an anchor chart of IDEAS for writing topics. Students can copy these into a notebook for future reference whenever they need a writing idea.
Hope this makes sense.
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2013, 06:20 PM
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DrivingPigeon DrivingPigeon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by czacza View Post
Generate a lst of writing ideas as a class. Chart and hang up.

Kids who can't come up with a writing idea in my class are told pick something from the list or write about their breakfast. They usually come up with an idea.
We actually do that monthly. :/ He usually says he still can't think of anything to write about. I have even gone as far as saying, "You will write about _____ today." He still won't write.
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  #6  
Old 02-04-2013, 06:20 PM
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DrivingPigeon DrivingPigeon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityGal606 View Post
Things that make me happy, sad, mad, afraid are 4 great IDEAS LIST generators. Make 4 sheets large paper each labeled with one of the 4 moods and lay it on the floor. Have students take a marker and allow them to travel from paper to paper in random groups formed from counting off 1,2, 3, 4, 5, etc... Set a visual timer on the projector screen and designate a set time at each paper. After each group has had the chance to visit each paper and write freely, as a class, organize the ideas in quadrants with a list of their contributions in each quadrant. Your room now has an anchor chart of IDEAS for writing topics. Students can copy these into a notebook for future reference whenever they need a writing idea.
Hope this makes sense.
I can try that, thanks!
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2013, 07:14 PM
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MissScrimmage MissScrimmage is online now
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Wow! I applaud your commitment to helping this child. I would have pulled out the "You will write x number of sentences before you go for recess" a looooong time ago!! It sounds like he has had many opportunities for help and ideas - it's time to get busy!
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2013, 08:44 PM
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pwhatley pwhatley is offline
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Have you discussed the situation with his parents?
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The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2013, 09:21 PM
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DrivingPigeon DrivingPigeon is offline
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Originally Posted by pwhatley View Post
Have you discussed the situation with his parents?
Yes, I did. They approved a the speech and language evaluation, and do the Handwriting Without Tears homework with him. Conferences are coming up in a few weeks, so I will update them on what we have tried.
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