Middle school boys can struggle with writing. Check out these four hands-on writing activities for middle school boys.
I have three children, and my first two are girls. I’d heard all the stories about how boys were different, but I didn’t really get it until I had my third child – my son.
Let me tell you – this boy mom thing is no joke. I thought I knew male behavior from being married to one and teaching boys in the classroom. Turns out, I was only clued in halfway.
My son is super active. He’s a busy, inquisitive boy. He loves to touch, to do, to see and be seen. He’s exhausting, but so much fun.
I’m thankful I’ve had a boy mom experience. Raising my own son has changed my perspective on teaching writing to boys. In my classroom days, I would have said that overwhelmingly, my male students struggled with writing more than my female students did – and there are statistics to back that up. But through years of trial and error and through my own parenting experiences, I’ve realized something:
Boys respond well to writing when it is a hands-on experience. Here are four hands-on writing activities for middle school boys.
This is one of my all-time favorite activities, and I’ve done it with students over a hundred times. In short, you choose an object representative of something important to you. The catch? It has to be something you don’t mind writing on.
Through a process of guided brainstorming and creation, writers think about what this object and what it represents means to them. They dig into the details – their experiences, their senses – and write poetry or descriptive prose based on that. When the piece is polished and ready to be published, writers use a permanent marker to emblazon their chosen object. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s a little bit crazy. Everybody loves it, even hard-to-reach tweenage boys.
Have a budding film critic, actor, or cinema enthusiast? Scour the bonus features of favorite films. Talk about how and why the directors make certain decisions, then set about writing your own epic script. Use a favorite book for inspiration, or make up something completely your own. Cast characters, build worlds, and make decisions about lighting and scenery. Write it all down, film it, and have a blast.
Have a Scavenger Hunt
What’s more fun than creating a real-life puzzle and solving it? Brainstorm clues, write them, and follow the adventure with a friend. You can get outside or do it indoors; you can make it a group project or stick to family. When you’re done, take a minute to break down the experience and journal about what worked or went wrong.
Write a Relay Story
In this spin on collaborative writing, you’ll need a group of four or more. Rather than pass a piece of paper around in a circle, use two sheets – one for each team. Have participants run to the paper and write down one line of a story, then run back to their teammate and tag the next person in. Set a number of runs or just keep going until they’re exhausted, then read the hilariousness you’ve come up with as a group.
Middle school boys are darling. Middle school boys are fun. Middle school boys are fantastic writers – and engaging them in hands-on writing activities is an adventure all its own.
For more on middle school boys and the writing conundrum, check out my guest post on the same topic at Year Round Homeschooling.