All writing comes down to the five paragraph essay. This is what my mom, a children's librarian taught me. This information served me well through high school. college, a dissertation, and five books!
Getting kids to think in terms of Intro, 3 Point, and Conclusion is the KEY to good writing. But you don't have to be boring about it.
Here are three great ways to teach this type of thinking that translates to all writing, including state test scores.
1. Magazines - Canva is a free photo-site for making email headers, blog images, social media posts. But is also has magazine templates. As long as you upload or use free images, this program is completely free. I asked my daughter to pick THREE subjects from her summer break to create a magazine called Summer Adventures for. She chose travel, reading, and camp - 5 paragraph essay outline! You can see one my daughter made here.
2. Movie Scripts - My boys especially struggle to love writing and reading, but they LOVE movies. Getting them to write a movie script, rather than a story opened doors. Writer Duet has a free version for up to three scripts.
Here's one my thirteen-year-old worked on. It takes learning screenwriter language, but how cool is that?
3. Movies - If your children haven't been highjacked by YouTube, I congratulate you. But, if they are anything like mine, it is sucking hours from their lives. Why not put that obsession to work and have them create their own movies imovies is SO easy. Here's a quick tutorial.
The other tool Mac provides is QuickTime, which videos you and your screen. Ask kids to make a tutorial of their 3 hardest math skills. Intro, teach 3 skills, summary - 5 paragraph essay framework! Here is a seriously bad example of movie trailer on War Horse, but you can get the idea!