Interactive Activities for Teaching Writing to Students

Before you grab another writing prompt to start Back to School writing, your students need an attention-grabbing way to learn the basics of the writing process. Getting students in the mood to write isn’t always easy but with a little creativity, and interactive activities for teaching writing, you can make it a process your elementary students actually want to be a part of. 

Insert: Writing Bootcamp! It’s basic training but for kids! It’s a 4-week workshop that introduces students to the writing process through a series of boot camp-style interactive writing activities. 

In the boot camp, students will create personal narratives about surviving a new grade level while learning each step of the writing process. With this activity, you’ll be able to keep your students’ attention laser-focused on the writing battle ahead of them.

{Please note: Affiliate links have been used in this post but I only share items I actually use and enjoy!}

Resources that Anchor the Lesson

Throughout your writing lesson, you’ll need visual elements that give students a frame of reference for each writing component. Getting students to write should not be rushed. Your lesson plans and activities for teaching writing should take a slow approach if you want them to be effective. 

Using these lesson anchors will ensure students feel supported as they move along in the writing process.

Writing Chant

writing chant

The writing call is a chant created to introduce and guide students through the writing process. The chant is the perfect introductory activity to begin the lesson and it can be used throughout the year to reinforce what they’re learning.

Focus Posters

focus posters that show the steps of the writing process

An essential next step for teaching writing is displaying posters that reference each step along the writing journey. To keep in theme with the writing boot camp, the posters are styled as dog tags.

As each new step is introduced, so is the corresponding poster. You should keep these on display throughout the full 4 weeks of the Bootcamp!

Writing Sliders

writing process slider for students to go through each step of writing.

I’m a big fan of sliders for many areas of instruction! They’re an easy interactive writing activity to add to your plans. With the writing process, students are able to keep track of where they are as they are creating their narratives in a hands-on way.

All you need is pipe cleaners and beads to create these writing sliders. To use, students will simply slide a bead as they cross off each stage of their writing.

Writing Process Step by Step

Once the supporting resources have been introduced, students can officially begin their Bootcamp! Step by step or “left right left” your students will go through brainstorming, organizing and writing, revising, editing, and publishing.

The first week of activities for teaching writing should be all about recognizing and practicing the steps of the writing process. Here’s a look at how this is done during the writing Bootcamp.

Step 1: Brainstorm

Brainstorming activities for writing

During the brainstorming stage, students will think of ideas for the “basic training” to go in their survival guides! You will want to reiterate to students that before you write, you should brainstorm. The brainstorming session can take place as a class and individually.

You can use soldiers as a frame of reference. Before soldiers go into battle, they should be prepared and ready. Well, writers do this by brainstorming lots of great ideas.

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Remind students throughout this step to not worry about creating full sentences and instead, focus on lists. Students can use the dog tag booklets to jot down these ideas and further develop them. 

These can then be used later to develop their sentences.

Step 2: Organize and Write

On the second day of the Bootcamp, your “recruits” will turn their big ideas into complete thoughts. 

Stay on theme and let your students know that soldiers always complete their mission. Use this reference to encourage them to write in complete sentences as they’re creating their narratives.

In addition, use a chart to model how to write complete sentences to your students so they can have examples in plain sight as they are working.

Step 3: Revising 

Begin day 3 with a discussion on why we revise. Your students should understand that revision is used to better our writing and make our details stronger or more clear. 

editing activities for writing

Since using complete sentences is often a struggle for students, you really want to focus on this skill during the revising step of the writing process. Use a companion activity to show students how to spot complete versus incomplete sentences.

revising activities for teaching writing

In the Bootcamp, students can use the Soldier Sentence Drop. It’s a whole class sorting activity in which students sort sentences into complete or incomplete categories. Use an anchor chart and have students glue the sentences independently onto the chart. 

To ensure they understand the differences, students should add capital letters and ending punctuation to sentences that are complete.

After working as a class with revising sentences, students revise their survival narratives. 

Step 4: Editing

On day 4, students will edit their work. Emphasize to your students that the editing phase is for making their writings perfect because it’s the final step before publishing.

This is a critical stage for students to learn how to spot mistakes in their writing, including spelling errors, missing punctuation, capitalization, etc. To reinforce the lesson on editing, students will go into soldier mode.

Punctuation activity for the writing process

Just like soldiers who get patched up when injured, so should our writing when it is incomplete! Punctuation is another big struggle for students to grasp, so during the editing phase, there’s a big emphasis on ensuring all sentences are punctuated correctly.

Students will use the bandaid activity to patch up punctuation in their sentences for additional practice!

Step 5: Publishing

Survival guide booklet created by students

On the final day, your students will go through the last step of the writing process– publishing their best work!

Encourage students to use their best handwriting as they rewrite their final narrative. Take some time to use those writing posters to review the stages they’ve been through and where they are now. Use the publishing poster to explain what the publishing phase entails.


To showcase their work, have your students create their Survival Guide book template using brown paper bags. On the inside, they will complete their narrative writing and you’ll have a beautiful display to add around the classroom!

Boot Camp Supplies

Are you totally convinced that the Writing Bootcamp is how you want to introduce writing to your students? With the Writing Bootcamp, students will have a blast learning and practicing the writing process with a fun theme!

Along with the survival guide, there will be several more weeks of boot camp fun to hone those writing skills. 

Keep the fun going by adding fun manipulatives, décor, or props to really drive home the theme! Of course, this is not required at all. It’s just a creative way to add a little extra excitement. 

Here are some items you may find useful for a full boot camp experience. All of these items can be found on Amazon

  1. Soldier hat and dog tag craft (a FREEBIE for students to wear during the lesson!)
  2. Toy army soldiers in classic green or a variety
  3. Dog tags
  4. Beads
  5. Pipe Cleaners
  6. Paper Bags
  7. Band-aids

You can grab your copy of the Writing Bootcamp from my TPT shop.

Looking for how-to writing tips? Check out this how-to writing booklet!

If you use this in your classroom, I’d love to see how it went! Be sure to tag me in your posts on social media @msamylemons! 

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Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


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