I believe that teachers have the capacity to kill writers. Especially elementary school teachers. Their young charges are eager to please, eager to share, and sometimes end up getting stabbed. How many kids say, "I'm no good at writing. I got a 'C' on my essay." Or, "The teacher didn't think it was funny."
I created a writing curriculum for my 5th grade class. I was able to do this because I teach at an independent, rural school district that lets me do my own thing. So I did. My entire focus was to build confidence in writing, provide success, teach vital skills, and have a lot of fun. Every week my students write, share, and smile. My goal is to create writers, not successfully rubriced products.
We begin the week with a pre-writing worksheet. Each worksheet includes brainstorming, and graphic organizers to think through the planning. There are bullet lists of things to include or watch for. Each student has choice within a structured plan. Then they get to write.
Each week I'm impressed with the variety of ideas, no matter if we're writing fiction or non. I get excited when I see the hints of more advanced structure or more vivid imagery, and I see it at all levels of 'ability'. Even reluctant writers morph into satisfied workers, anxious to try each new technique.
The students love to share their stories on Fridays, and comment on what was good about their group members' writing too. I comment. I guide them to notice the pacing, the mixture of emotion, action, and thought. I point out the great hooks, and laugh at the humor. I especially praise the use of whatever skill focus we had that week, be it topic sentences, or building suspense. I nod my head as they finish, and smile. They get it.
Then I don't grade it.
Writing for children is a passion - along with reading kid's books, writing plays for kids, and teaching kids how to write!