The Best Posts On Writing Instruction

'saturated writing' photo (c) 2007, Eduardo - license:

We Need to ‘Slow Down’ When Teaching Writing is the headline of one of my Education Week Teacher columns. It finishes up a four-part series on teaching writing.

Eight Ways To Help English Language Learners Feel Motivated To Read & Write is the headline of one of my posts for The British Council.

I’ve published a number of posts on writing instruction, and thought I’d bring them all together into one “The Best” list.

I’ve previously posted tons of lists sharing sites that are useful in writing instruction, but none collecting posts I’ve written about what to actually do in the classroom.

The Best Resources For Writing In Social Studies Classes

The Best Resources For Writing In Science Class

The Best Resources For Writing In Math Class

The Best Websites For K-12 Writing Instruction/Reinforcement

The Best Scaffolded Writing Frames For Students

The Best Places Where Students Can Write Online

The Best Sites For Grammar Practice

Not “The Best,” But “A List” Of Mindmapping, Flow Chart Tools, & Graphic Organizers

The Best Resources For Researching & Writing Biographies

The Best Resources For Learning How To Write Response To Literature Essays

The Best Places Where Students Can Write For An “Authentic Audience”

The Best Places Where Students Can Create Online Learning/Teaching Objects For An “Authentic Audience”

The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories

The Best Sites To Learn About Advertising

The Best Websites For Developing Academic English Skills & Vocabulary

The Best Online Interactive Exercises For Writing That Are Not Related To Literary Analysis

The Best Online Resources To Teach About Plagiarism

The Best Resources For Learning Research & Citation Skills

The Best Sites For Students To Create & Participate In Online Debates

The Best Online Resources For Helping Students Learn To Write Persuasive Essays

The Best Spelling Sites

The Best Sites For Gaining A Basic Understanding Of Adjectives

The “Best” Sites For Helping Students Write Autobiographical Incident Essays

The Best Sites To Learn “Feelings” Words

The Best Sites For ELL’s To Learn About Punctuation

The Best Resources To Help Students Write Research Essays

The Best Sites For Learning To Write A Story

The Best Writing Advice From Famous Authors

The Best Resources On Punctuation

The Best Resources On Getting Student Writers To “Buy-Into” Revision – Help Me Find More

The Best Sites For Collaborative Storytelling

The Best Online Tools That Can Help Students Write An Essay

The Best Videos & Articles Where Athletes Explain How Reading & Writing Well Has Helped Their Career – Help Me Find More

The Best Funny Videos To Help Teach Grammar – Help Me Find More

The Best Ways To Use Mistakes When Teaching Writing

The Best Funny Videos To Help Teach Grammar – Help Me Find More

The Best Video Clips On The Benefits Of Writing Well — Help Me Find More

The Best Resources For Teaching/Learning About How To Write Compare/Contrast Essays

The Best Links For Helping Students Learn How To Write “Leads” or “Ledes”

The Best Professional Development Resources On Writing Instruction


And, now, here are my writing instruction posts:

I published a four-part series on teaching writing over at my Education Week blog. Here’s a link to the final post in that series — it contains links to the previous three, too.

My Revised Final Exams (And An Important Lesson)

Five ways to get kids to want to read and write

“Instead of seeing students as Far Below Basic or Advanced, we see them as learners” is a guest post written by my colleague Lara Hoekstra.

More Mount Everest Resources, Including Prompt We’re Using As Part Of Our “Final”

Writing Prompts — Feel Free To Contribute Your Own!

Rwanda Lesson & Writing Prompt

Here’s The “Growth Mindset” Article & Prompt We’re Using As Part Of Our Semester Final

“Point, Quote, Connect”

Helping Students Write Essays

Student Writing & Metacognition

My Student Handout For Simple Journal-Writing

New Study Says That Half Of “Evidence-Based Practices” In Writing Instruction Not “Signaled” By Common Core

I’ve posted a collection of all my Education Week Teacher posts on teaching reading and writing. It includes contributions from lots of great educators.

Student-Created Prompts As A Differentiation Strategy

Here’s What I’m Having My ELL Geography Students Do As Their Semester “Final”

Here’s What I’m Having My ELL U.S. History Students Do As Their Semester “Final”

Here’s What My IB Theory Of Knowledge Students Are Doing For Their Semester “Final”

Writing Prompt For “The Long March”

Quote Of The Day: “We Must Always Take Sides”

Helping Students Respond To Writing Prompts

Video (& Writing Prompt): “A failure isn’t a failure if it prepares you for success tomorrow”

Excellent (& I Mean EXCELLENT!) Post On Asking Questions

This Is Exactly What I Mean By Connecting Social Emotional Learning & Literacy Instruction….

Another Good Writing Prompt: Reconciliation

Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using For My Geography Class

New Writing Prompt For My U.S. History Class

Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using As Part Of My Final For Ninth-Grade English

John Lewis: “You Must Find A Way To Get In Trouble”

Two Good Videos On How We Learn & How I Plan To Use Them In Class

“Personal Writing Based on The Times’s Sunday Routine Series” Is A Nice Idea From The Learning Network

Our School’s Writing Assessment For Some Students With Special Needs

Julie Goldman, the Coordinator of the great WRITE Institute that creates curriculum for English Language Learners, has written an excellent article on “Research-Based Writing Practices For English Language Learners,” which you can download for free here.

Quote Of The Day: “Traditional grammar instruction isn’t effective. Period.”

Quote Of The Day: “When Will I Ever Use This?” (& How I’ll Use It In Class)

500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Two New Good Writing Prompts For My Students

How to celebrate students’ writing is from Ray Salazar.

Simple Writing Prompt On California Gold Rush

With The Appropriate Background Knowledge, This Could Be A Good MLK Writing Prompt

Micro Writing: Writing to learn in ESL is from ELT Connect.

Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using With “Smartphones Don’t Make Us Dumb”

The Teacher Tip: Don’t Fix the Story. Just Listen. is by Barry Lane.

Rachael Roberts – Motivating students to write is from The British Council.

Learning to Write Like a Reader: Teaching Students How to Edit and Do Peer-Review is from Teaching Learning/Learning Teacher.

301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Great Article On “Being The Best At Anything” & How I’m Using It In Class

Excellent Review Of Writing Instruction Research

Constructive Peer Editing: Free Handout Included! is by Emily Guthrie. She shares such an obvious and easy improvement on typical peer-editing, you might feel as dumb as I did for not thinking about it before (that is, if you haven’t).

Supporting Good Writing Instruction is from The National Writing Project.

Is “Draftback” A Cool Toy You’ll Use Once Or Potentially An Effective Tool For Teaching Writing?

“Writing Challenge For Kids” Could Be A Nice Change-Of-Pace For Students

Quote Of The Day: “Teaching Doubt” (& How I’m Going To Use It In Class)

Mindshift, the popular KQED blog, has published an excerpt from one of my books they’ve titled What Motivates A Student’s Interest in Reading and Writing.

Important Video & Article On Double-Standard Of Making “government beneficiaries prove themselves worthy”

Simple ELL Writing Assignment On Imperialism

Two Good Pieces Of Simple Writing Advice For Students – Share Your Own

Here Are Some Examples Of Using “Concept Attainment” In Writing Instruction

Concise and Precise Micro-writing is from Alex Quigley, and offers some very good suggestions.

This Is The Geography “Final” For My ELL Students

Adventures with gallery critique is by Andy Tharby.

Modelling Writing and Rich Tea or Hob Nob? from Class Teaching both make great points and offer suggestions about the role of teacher modeling in writing instruction.

Quote Of The Day: Junot Díaz Explains What Often Happens When We Confront Our Fears

Getting Student Writers To “Buy-Into” Revision

Nine Ways to Help Students Embrace the Revision Process is by John Spencer.

“They Say, I Say” Is A Great Writing Resource (links to many useful sentence-starters and templates)

Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High Schools is a very useful report suggested to me by reader Marie.

Dylan Wiliam advises: Forget the Rubric; Use Work Samples Instead is a pretty important post by Doug Lemov. Be sure to also check out Dylan William’s comment on it.

School Writing Vs. Authentic Writing is by Ken Lindblom.

A Great Piece On Student Boredom & The Writing Prompt I’m Using With It

At First Glance: A Sentence Starter Adds Unexpected Rigor to Writing and The Art of the Sentence are both by Doug Lemov.

Two Good Articles – & A Student Writing Prompt – On The Importance Of Reading

Here’s A Writing Prompt I’m Using With My TOK Students On The First Day Of Class

A Nice Video On The Importance Of Asking Questions – & An Accompanying Writing Prompt

Excellent Article On Listening AND Writing Prompt I’ll Be Having Students Use With It

The Pope’s Canonization Of Junipero Serra Is A Great Teaching/Learning Opportunity – Here’s What I’m Doing

How I Teach My English-Language Learners to Love Writing is by Mary Ann Zehr and appeared in Ed Week.

This Is A Great Article On The Benefits Of Reading Books & Here Is How I’m Going To Use It

An Anchor Chart Mashup is from Two Writing Teachers.

Infusing Information Writing Throughout the Day: Diving Into Information Writing is from Two Writing Teachers.

Hochman’s ‘But, Because, So’ Sentence Expansion Activity is from Doug Lemov.

Reading & Writing About El Salvador With Salvadoran Refugees

Good Quote From Ta-Nehisi Coates On Writing & How I’m Using It In Class

Syrian and Iraqi refugees seek freedoms cherished by all Americans is from The Washington Post.

Here is an excerpt:


I plan on have students read this piece and respond to this writing prompt:

How does Khalil Tawil suggest the United States should respond to refugees? To what extent do you agree or disagree with what he believes? To support your position, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

New Study Says Emphasize Quality Over Quantity In Teaching Writing, But I Don’t Think That’s Most Important Finding

5 Non-Negotiables When Designing Writing Instruction is from Three Teachers Talk.

The Writing Recipe: Essay Structure For English Language Learners is from The Teaching Channel:

Useful Writing Scaffold For A Classroom Wall

Video & Quote Of The Day: Booker Prize Winner On Writing With Five Senses In Mind

Quote Of The Day (& How I’m Using It In Class): “the winner is the person who keeps asking questions”

10 Surefire Ideas to Remove Writing Roadblocks is by Regie Routman at Middleweb.

A Simple Writing Prompt To Accompany Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Essay, “The Purpose Of Education”

Statistic Of The Day: We Have Eight Second Attention Spans (& How I’m Using This Info In The Classroom)

Here’s The Writing Prompt I Used With My Intermediate ELLs Today

Three Good Speaking/Writing Prompts – Along With Video Models

Teachers Might Find My “Concept Attainment – Plus” Instructional Strategy Useful

On the Impossibility of Teaching Creative Writing is from The Huffington Post.

Here’s An Example Of How I Scaffold A Short Writing Prompt

A Useful Lesson When Teaching Problem/Solution Essays – & Other Topics

Our 100 Most Popular Student Questions for Debate and Persuasive Writing is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Students often get muddled when writing a narrative because they concentrate too much on the plot of the story. As a…

Posted by TeachingEnglish – British Council on Sunday, February 28, 2016

Do Your Students Slouch Back In Their Chairs? Here’s A Writing Prompt On It I’m Using In Class

Video On Apartheid & Forgiveness – Plus An Accompanying Writing Prompt

Short & Simple Writing Prompt On Effort & Perseverance

Another Good Idea via Adam Grant: Seniors Writing Letters To Freshmen

Adam Grant On Failure & How I’m Using What He Says In Class

The University of New Hampshire has a lot of good Writing Hand-outs, particularly around grammar issues and writing particular types of essays.
“RACE” Looks Like A Useful Writing Strategy

Mentor Text Dropbox is a site where you can find and contribute…mentor texts.

Tools to Help Writers Explain Good Evidence is from Middleweb. I’m adding it to the same list.

Kevin Durant On “Hard Work” & How I’m Using It In Class

Teach Students to Write Strong Paragraphs is by Sarah Tantillo at Middleweb.
What Does The Trump Campaign Teach Us About The Limitations Of The Common Core Standards?

Using computers widens the achievement gap in writing, a federal study finds is from The Hechinger Report. After reading it, you might want to explore what I consider to be the three best tools for teaching keyboarding:

My students like Dance Mat Typing because it teaching typing with text and audio support.

Typing Web is a great site for learners. You have to register for the site and it tracks your progress.

AlfaTyping looks like a nice tool for students to develop typing skills, and you can read all about it at Richard Byrne’s post.

UMaine Professor: Writing Boosts Performance of Maine’s Student-Athletes comes by way of the National Writing Project. In addition to the way I now work with our coaches, this idea might be worth pursuing.

Education Week has published one of their typically excellent special reports, and the title of this one is Next Draft: Changing Practices In Writing Instruction. It’s composed of eight separate articles, including “As Teachers Tackle New Student-Writing Expectations, Support Is Lacking,” “Remodeling the Workshop: Lucy Calkins on Writing Instruction Today,” and “Students in My Math Classes Next Year Will Do a Lot of Writing. Here’s Why.”

This crowdsourced collection of Doug Lemov-inspired “Confident Letters of Intent” (basically, academic sentence frames and starters) is fantastic. It comes to me via James Theobald on Twitter.

Here’s an excellent post from the National Writing Project filled with resources for teaching a Writing Workshop model in class.

Low-Stakes Writing: Writing to Learn, Not Learning to Write is from Edutopia.

Getting Strategic About Teaching Revision in Writing is from Ed Week.

The Psychological Benefits of Writing Regularly is from LifeHacker.

Students in My Math Classes Next Year Will Do a Lot of Writing. Here’s Why is from Ed Week.

Video & Transcript: Michelle Obama’s Speech To The Democratic Convention (Plus Writing Prompt!)

Video & Transcript Of President Obama’s Speech – Plus Writing Prompt on “Making Mistakes”


Important NY Times Column On Separating “Art & Artist” – Here’s The Writing Prompt I’m Using With It

Video: “10 Strategies to Help Students Develop Intrinsic Motivation to Write”

Video & Transcript Of President Obama’s 9/11 Memorial Speech & How I Will Use It In Class

3 Strategies to Fire Up Hesitant Writers is from Edutopia.

Two New Useful Resources On Teaching Writing – And An Old One

Using “My Shot” From Hamilton With ELLs & Others (Including Writing Prompt)

Try This Teaching is a new website by Amjad Ali that contains useful teaching resources, like this On One Hand graphic organizer.

Guest Post: “Inquiry” vs. “Diagnostic” Frameworks For Writing Assessments

How to give writing feedback to students efficiently is by Ray Salazar.

The Writing Journey by Kelly Gallagher.

20 Things for Students to Do with Informational Text is from Julie Conlon. It includes a very nice infographic.

Learning To Learn is an excellent new article at the Harvard Business Review. It highlights four key qualities of an effective learner – aspiration, self-awareness, curiosity, and vulnerability. I’m thinking of dividing the article into four very short sections on each of those qualities and then have students respond to this same prompt for each:

What quality does the writer say is important in order to be an effective learner, and what is her justification? To what extent do you agree or disagree with what she believes? Write an essay responding to these questions; to develop your essay, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observation of others, or any of your reading — including “Learning To Learn” itself.

Here’s What I’m Doing As A Final With Beginning ELLs

14 Questions for Examining Mentor Texts (Of Any Kind) is from Gil Teach.

A Year of Picture Prompts: Over 160 Images to Inspire Writing is from The New York Times Learning Network.

New TED Talk From Anne Lamott With Great Excerpt On Writing – Here’s How I’m Using It In Class

Using “Wrote My Way Out” From Hamilton With Students (Including Writing Prompt)

GETTING STARTED WITH MENTOR SENTENCES is from Ideas By Jivey and looks interesting.


Writing Workshop Checklist is from Edutopia.

Tips for Aspiring Op-Ed Writers appeared in The NY Times.


Video: “I’m Always Early” (& How I’m Using It In Class)

The Highs and Lows of Highlighting: How Google Docs Supports Writing Instruction is by Tan Huynh.

Teaching Close Reading and Compelling Writing With the ‘New Sentences’ Column is from The New York Times Learning Network.


3 Techniques for Students Who Know What They Want to Say But Not How to Say it is from Moving Writers.

I really like this writing assignment:

A (Writing) Library of Possibility: Structure and Freedom is by Tricia Ebarvia.

PBS NewsHour Segment On Generosity & Belonging – Here’s How I’m Using It In Class

One Sentence at a Time: The Need for Explicit Instruction in Teaching Students to Write Well is by Judith C. Hochman and Natalie Wexler.

3 Tips for AP Lang Test Prep is by Tricia Ebarvia.

Strategies to help students engage in daily writing practice is from Achieve The Core.

Choose a main character and 9 other ideas for starting a story is from the journalism site Poynter. It’s one of several useful posts in their Help Writers series.

Here’s another piece from Doug Lemov, this time on “formative writing.”  He points out how a teacher used this prompt:

“How might Alice Walker’s experiences sharecropping have influenced her writing?”

The use of the word “might” helped students feel more comfortable about writing and less worried about being wrong.

Is It Time To Go Back To Basics With Writing Instruction? is from MindShift.


Micro-Writing for English Learners is the title of my latest article in ASCD’s magazine, Educational Leadership.

Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students is from The New York Times Learning Network.

The Action Behind Writing is from The Daily Write.

5-Minute Writing Conferences is from Edutopia.

Nine Teaching Ideas for Using Music to Inspire Student Writing is from The NY Times Learning Network.

Winners From Our Fifth Annual Student Editorial Contest is from The NY Times Learning Network.

Why Teaching English Through Content Is Critical for ELL Students is from MindShift.

Also, you might want to read Why Do the Warriors Dominate the 3rd Quarter? Consider Their Halftime Drill.


Great Article On The Benefits Of Reading – With An Accompanying Writing Prompt!

Stop Boring Nonfiction Writing. Save the World. is from Angie Miller at Middleweb.

What Students Gain by Writing Together is by Jeremy Hyler, and appears in Middleweb.

Fostering the Writing Identities of Teens in ELA Classrooms is from The National Writing Project.

Welcome to the NWP Knowledge Base is also from The National Writing Project.

What The Research Says: The 13 Most Effective Ways To Improve Children’s Writing. is from Literacy For Pleasure.

Feedback That Saves Time, Improves Writing is by Sarah Tantillo at Middleweb.

Paragraphs: Give Us a Break! is from Teach Write.

‘Not All Feedback Is Created Equal’ is a four-part series in my Education Week Teacher column.

Strategies for Teaching Argument Writing appears in Edutopia.


Teaching Great Writing One Sentence at a Time is from The NY Times Learning Network.


Feel free to offer links to your best posts (or pieces that others have written) on teaching writing….

Debra Hanson has given me permission to share this excellent Anchor Chart/Infographic on “Expanding Sentences.” She explains how she uses it in class here:

Over 140 Picture Prompts to Inspire Student Writing is from The NY Times Learning Network.

Teaching the Research Process Through Podcasting is from Edutopia.


How Not to Go Crazy Reading Rough Drafts is by Sarah Cooper at Middleweb.


The Power of Short Writing Assignments comes via Edutopia.


People may remember the great This I Believe broadcasts on NPR a few years ago (that are still available on their site). Many of us have used them in class. Lots of educators probably know this already, but it was new to me – there is a huge separate This I Believe website with zillions of essays and related curriculum for all age groups! And if you can’t get enough teaching ideas from there, check out the You’ll Love the “This I Believe” Writing Project from Spark Creativity.

What I learned about writing from reading Greta Thunberg’s speech to the U.N. is from Poynter.

The Whistle-Blower Knows How to Write. is from The NY Times.

Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively offers good advice and student hand-outs.


The NY Times Learning Network has unveiled an argumentative writing unit.

About The Author

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

My Amazon Author’s page

Larry Ferlazzo Amazon

Most popular posts

  • Loading...



Skip to toolbar