Enough with the daily writing prompts: Teach craft in context via free choice

Forget about daily writing prompts and canned writing instruction systems. All you need is a high interest mentor text, paper and pencil, and students. Offer choice and conference with students. The rest will take care of itself.

Sirena and Allison show us how every single state standard can be addressed during free choice writing. And the best part? Our focus is on the joy of writing and NOT on the drill and kill mastery of isolated skills.

Author: Darren Victory

Darren Victory is a fourth-grade reading and writing teacher and literacy consultant. Prior to entering the world of education, Victory spent 15 years as a writer and editor for various magazines and newspapers. Mayonnaise makes him gag and he’s terrified of canned biscuits. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with the two loves of his life — Netflix and a somewhat alive house plant.

4 thoughts on “Enough with the daily writing prompts: Teach craft in context via free choice”

  1. This test is a serious problem in my locale and causes serious behavior problems and loss of hope in many children. There is some test over here that the kids do well in school until they hit middle school. Then after a test, they knock some of the kids down two grades. Imagine the psyche of a pre-teen male that gets knocked back to the fifth grade. Some of our Teach For America bail out of teaching as soon as they finish their requirement. Some of them wanted to remain teachers but couldn’t deal with it. To try to control behavior or get participation, kids are given candy rewards to answer drill questions. Two TFA’s quit and started their own private schools so they would be free to use methods they found that work. But that removes funds from public schools when students leave. Tag this Teach For America to help new teachers coming in. How do you reinforce terminology, ie. a predicate from a verb, metaphors, etc. Wish there were more available teaching methods readily available for free online. Maybe I’d still be volunteering with children. There should be hands on learning in all the subjects. Rote learning does not help with retention. I’ll pass this along at the next TFA banquet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this information with us. I’m sorry to hear this. The frustration is so difficult to handle because the attacks just never cease. Toxic education policies are destroying so many lives — teachers and students alike. Thank you for following and reading the blog. It’s always nice to hear from a kindred spirit.


      1. Ok. I can leave you alone for a while now. Done my mission. Forwarded this website to TeachforAmerica.org for my area. Maybe it will help some children. They had an email prompt that allowed for sharing stories. Thought this was a good story. Keep doing what your doing.


      2. Hi LT! Sorry for the delay. This week has been crazy and I haven’t had a chance to check messages until now. I will take a closer look at this information over the weekend. Thank you for sharing it with me! Sorry it took forever for me to respond.


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