I recently spent a few days in a writing workshop hosted in my district that featured both poetry and non-fiction writing. In the workshop we discussed the merits of different writing programs such as 6 Traits and ideas taken from Lucy Calkins, but spent a lot of time on developing mini lessons and how to make the most of writing conferences. Amid the discussions that we had in how we presented topics and edited with students, we never talked about the writing process as a whole. We discussed the different steps of the writing process, but as we talked in groups or in pairs, I noticed something that was universal among us. We all added 'extra' steps into the writing process. Even more interesting to me was that these 'extra' steps were added at the same exact place by each teacher. We may not have referred to them with the same vocabulary, but they were
there, just the same. I identified 12 steps needed to help students improve their writing.
Step 1: Brainstorm with a graphic organizer.
Step 2: Begin illustrating and label the ‘nouns’
Step 3: Begin writing a beginning, middle, and end.
Step 4: Conference with student.
Step 5: Student edits.
Step 6: Student rereads and edits again if necessary.
This can be done with a partner.
Step 7: Conference with student to revise the story.
Step 8: The student rereads to make further changes
and checks for clarity of the story.
Step 9: The student begins to rewrite the story to work
towards a final draft.
Step 10: The student rereads for clarity again.
Step 11: Add details to the illustration to help tell the story.
Step 12: Publishing
Here are those same 12 steps in a poster for you!
I know that realizing this validated not only me as a teacher, but also me as a writer. I had never thought to break down and analyze the way I taught the
writing process. I hope that this helps you strengthen your writer's workshop
like it has me. It is incredible when something that you have thought about makes a connection with such strength that it changes the teacher's heart inside you. Here it is, the middle of summer, but thinking through this process was so profound that I know it has already changed the way I will look at my writer's workshop when this next year begins.Here are 3 other things to remember....Maybe these can be the beginning of a few anchor charts for you.
Jennifer Ayers is an 18 year veteran teacher and has experience teaching in both suburban and inner-city schools. Out of 18 years, she has been a lead teacher in some capacity for 15 of those 18 years. She has taught in a multi-age Montessori classroom, has taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades, and has also been a full-time reading interventionist/Title 1 teacher. Jennifer earned her master's degree in K-12 Education at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee in 2000 and also graduated in 2008 with her Education Specialists Degree in Supervision and Administration from Tennessee Technological University. You may recognize Jennifer from Really Good Stuff's annual blog contest as she was selected to judge the competition. You can find Jennifer at her website, Best Practices 4 Teaching or at her freebie website Best Practices 4 Teaching Freebie Pages.