How Real-Life Writing Assignments Can Engage and Motivate Your Students

A huge reason students don’t want to write or participate in school is that they feel like it’s another school skill that they aren’t going to use in real life. But writing is a skill that every profession needs.   Students will write in real life at some point.

No Examples of Real-Life Writing

When I was in middle school I started to feel like I was being taught skills that I would never use in real life.  The further I got into my schooling the more I felt this way.   There are many things I was taught that I have never used, and I’m a teacher.  It’s this same feeling that made me want to teach elementary school.  Kids still love school and the skills they are being taught are needed by everyone.  

How to Teach Students with Real-Life Writing

Now I know the other skills I learned were important, but it didn’t seem like it then.  It took a long time for me to use some of the skills I learned in school, and some I still haven’t.  I think our students feel the same way.  They start to see learning and writing as work they must complete.   They don’t see the real-life application of what they’re learning.  We have to show students the real-life applications of their writing skills.

What is Real-Life Writing?

Writing in real life is the application of writing to a career or real-life circumstance rather than a school assignment.  It’s when teachers take writing out into real life rather than assign tasks that just need to get done.  The goal is that students get a true look at what their writing would like look in different careers.

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What are Real-Life Writing Careers?

There are many careers that have a complete and total focus on writing, but there are also careers that require basic writing skills to be used every day.   We need to make this clear to our students.  They will not always be writing papers, stories, or arguments in their everyday life, but they will be writing.  We owe it to them to teach them all kinds of writing for many different purposes.  Once they understand how they will use their writing skills beyond the classroom they might just be more cooperative, engaged, and perseverant as they learn through classroom assignments.  

Real-Life Writing Careers

  • Journalist
  • Blogger
  • Screen Write/Play Write
  • Author
  • Grant Writer
  • Copy Writer
  • Speech Writer
  • Technical Writer
  • Editor
  • Medical Writer
  • Content Writer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Ghost Writer
  • Proposal Writer

You can have a lot of fun creating assignments that require students to write for one of these careers.  It would give them some experience writing as if they would if they pursued that career.  There are so many ways to approach these ideas with students.

Real-Life Writing is Not Just for Professional Writers

However, it’s not just professional writers that write every day.  Most employees have to write for work.  It just comes in different formats.  The boss will expect anything they write to be done well and in a professional manner.  Here are just a few things that employees need to write while at work.

Real-Life Writing Everyday

  • Emails
  • Report Cards
  • Evaluations
  • Patient Notes
  • Business Letters
  • Memos
  • Reports
  • Newsletters
  • Press Releases
  • Meeting Agendas
  • Handbooks
  • Customer Complaints/Feedback
  • Resume/Cover Letter
  • Notes to the Teacher

It might sound silly, but these are also great assignments to give your students.  You can give them a format to follow to email you when they need something.  They can write their own report cards.  Give the students a big announcement and have them write a press release from the White House.

Adding Real-Life Writing to the Classroom

For years now research has talked about making schoolwork more meaningful to our students.   When the work is meaningful it engages and motivates students.  Changing your writing assignments from teacher designed this is the way it’s always been done assignments to real-life writing assignments can help students learn so much more.  

Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry

I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing.  Here is an entire lesson for FREE.  My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets making this the perfect lesson for your classroom.

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