Wrap-Up the Year with Real-World Writing

The end of the school year can make it challenging to hold students’ attention. The end is in sight and focus dwindles.

Real-world writing is a great way to keep attention and engagement up. There’s no question of “when will I need this.” It’s not abstract, but concrete writing skills and processes. (This list is based primarily off my experiences in a variety of jobs that I worked around being a part-time teacher for many years.)

Here are some real-world writing activities for the end of the year, or any time:

Complaint letter writing: while students are familiar with complaint letters from an individual perspective, they may not realize that businesses and organizations will also write a complaint letter (or email) when dissatisfied. It’s good written documentation of an attempt at resolution as well. It requires factual, objective, and structured writing, plus some problem-solution writing (identify the complaint, propose a reasonable solution). A variation is to direct their complaints towards standardized testing, which can be a good way to vent.

Plan a Trip: This real world activity focuses on researching a place to visit, such as for a vacation. The same skills in researching location can be applied to researching a new place to live or work. Students will research not just the location, but also distances and costs as part of their project.

Proposal Writing: proposals are very comm  on as they explain what one company offers another, in detail. Proposals are used to sell goods or services (including building, designing, or managing) for another company or organization. They will include detailed information on process and pricing. Proposals include a subtle type of persuasive writing- attempting to convince the prospective client to choose then, but with facts and not emotion.

Company Project (or Build a Business): the core of this project is that students create a company with goods or services and build a poster with short company history, sales pitch, and testimonials. You can also expand the project with complaint letter writing, business letter writing, commercial writing, and flyer design. It’s a flexible project that really gets students involved in several different types of real-world writing. (This is a student favorite, and honestly, one of my favorites as well.)

Plus, these projects are a deviation from “normal” grading, which is a nice bonus for the teacher at the end of the year as well.

Hang in there! The end is in sight!

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