A Baker’s Dozen Motivational Cookies for the Reluctant Writer ​Session Notes Presented by the Pike County Teaching and Learning Team

Dr. Jenny Allison, Director of Teaching and Learning Dawn Lanca-Potter, Curriculum Coordinator

Kristi Connell, RTI Coordinator

Dr. Kim Johnson, District Literacy Specialist

Focus:​ Content-Area Literacy, Writing, Vocabulary

Session Overview:​ Participants will follow the wafting scent of fresh-baked cookies to this session: a welcoming writing kitchen, where we will share verse writing idea recipes that will inspire even the most reluctant writer – and we’ll even bake a few practice batches of our own! Teachers will gain confidence to inspire students to discover the​ fun​ of writing – and will be able to model these processes for students. These writing inspirations are adaptable for all content areas, all ages, and will include manipulatives to ensure student success for a wide range of ability levels. (A Sneak Preview: We’ll show you how to create Jenga blocks and other tricks that will enable a student to write ​without a pencil!) Participants will take away ideas that they can immediately begin implementing in their classrooms. We will provide a handout summarizing each idea we share, along with resource links – including demonstration videos! Best of all: our recipes are calorie-free!

*Writers need to feel they can be successful if they are to accomplish the task.

*Feedback is critical in the writing process. “​Acceptance makes. Red pens break.”

*Good writing is not limited to the five paragraph essay or the research paper – or the novel.

*ALL students are writers – some have embraced it, others just haven’t realized it yet.

*Writing implements are not limited to pencil and paper – manipulatives and voice recorders work, too! *Our stories make us better writers.

*Bite-sized writing tasks are good places to start with reluctant writers – marathons begin with meters.

Motivational Writing Cookies

Please have a pen and journal handy if you wish to practice writing with asterisked ideas:

1) Mashed Potato verse​– Give each student 6 of the large tongue depressors and ask them to find favorite lines of verse (random). Write the line of verse on one side, and author/title on the other using Sharpie markers. This will build a bank of lines that students can use to re-frame existing verse into new arrangements. You can also add magnets on the back for using with cookie sheets if you wish.

Mashed Potato YouTube Link: ​

 Variation: Borrowed Line verse​ – use lines of existing verse as a way to overcome the hurdle of getting started. Students can borrow lines at the beginning, middle, and/or end of a work of verse and then expand from the borrowed first line.

Borrowed Line YouTube Link: ​

Found/Blackout Poetry​ – Contact your Media Center to ask for discarded novels. Students “find” words on a page to create their own word arrangement. Decorate the page using art or design.

Found Poetry YouTube Link: ​

 * ​Hashtag Introduction Acrostics ​– Invite students to write their names vertically, and add a hashtag in front of each letter in their name. Use these as the beginning of words/phrases that

they might use on Instagram to describe themselves in selfies/photos that they would post Hashtag Acrostic YouTube link: ​     

Rory’s Story Cubes​ – Roll the cubes and use the pictures on the dice to inspire a story! Rory’s Story Cubes YouTube link: ​

Blockhead Jenga​ – ask for donations of Jenga blocks or pick up sets at thrift stores. Cut colorful and interesting words from magazines to put on the blocks. Students can arrange these into verse.

Blockhead Poetry YouTube Link: ​

* ​Six Word Memoirs ​– students find six words to write their memoir.

Six Word Memoir YouTube link: ​

Magnetic Verse​ – Magnetic poetry kits are easy to make with your own themed vocabulary words. Run a magnetic sheet through the printer, cut apart the words like break-and-bake cookies, and let students use cookie sheets or magnetic dry erase boards to create masterpieces!

Magnetic YouTube link: ​

Haikubes​ – use Haikubes to inspire Haiku poetry.

Haiku YouTube link: ​

* ​Golden Shovel Poems ​- Use a line of existing verse written vertically so that each word in the line becomes the starting word of a new line – – in this way, lines of poetry are expanded into new creations of thought!

Golden Shovel YouTube Link: ​

Metaphor Dice​ – use Metaphor Dice to roll metaphors that students can elaborate to explain. There are red (concepts), white (adjectives), and blue (objects) dice. These dice are available at, but there is also an app for $1.99.

Metaphor YouTube Link: ​

  Extra Metaphor YouTube Link:

Paint Chip Poems​ – You can buy a pre-designed set or ask Lowe’s or Home Depot for their discontinued paint chip samples. Distribute to students and challenge them to use these words in descriptive writing pieces.

Paint Chip YouTube link: ​

 Collage Verse/ Remade Ransom Poems ​- Allow students to cut words/phrases from magazines to generate a word splash that can be used as a word bank for creative writing. Try sorting into piles of nouns, adjectives, and verbs and blend some unexpected descriptive pairs.

Remade Ransom YouTube Link: ​

* ​List Poems ​ – Just like “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, lists can become favorite poems/lyrics and offer a unique daily writing format that enables students to share about themselves with teachers and friends.

List Poem YouTube Link: ​


  Additional Strategies:

Notes – Microphone Recording – Reluctant writers can use the talk-to-text feature on a phone/device to tell a story or write what they would say. Email/convert to a document to give a student a starting point from which to begin editing.

I Remember – This can work for narratives (memories) or for informational pieces (content). Set a timer for one minute. The student writes EVERYTHING he/she remembers for a solid minute – the goal is to keep the pencil moving. Use these ideas to generate further writing ideas.

I Remember YouTube link: ​

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