This is fourth grade. All of the ideas presented are great, and I'd have already tried many of them if I wasn't dealing with a principal who is so locked into curriculum that doing anything "off book" is considered as not meeting expectations. I'm not kidding. I have a coworker who noticed that her first graders needed work forming letters correctly. She found lessons and worksheets and employed various strategies, only to be told to stop doing anything that wasn't provided by the district. It's incredibly frustrating. So, while it would be great to do storyboards and let students write about their own interests, I don't have that kind of flexibility. The program we're teaching jumps from one style to another. Editorial, narrative, persuasive piece, etc. on specific topics. The problem is not necessarily getting them interested in what they're writing, as it is to get them to do anything. As I said originally, it's not everyone. It's only a few boys who are unwilling to actually do any work. We can have discussions all day about engaging kids, but it's hard to get the ones who don't care to turn around and make an effort....especially in the last two months of school. Given the restraints I have placed on me as far as teaching this year, plus some difficult personalities, I'm not so much asking for advice as venting frustrations.