Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Writing Process

When I was hired at my first school the principal told me she was placing me in 3rd grade because of how I described teaching writing. She explained that 3rd grade is the grade where writing begins to really be monitored. Back then I mostly focused on creative writing. I would tear out magazine pages, have students choose one and list adjectives to describe the picture. They would then write a descriptive piece about their picture. After moving to 2nd grade I began to realize that that I should spend more time focusing on the process of writing. Many of my students could produce a descriptive or narrative piece, but they really had no concept of the steps of writing. The new Reading series that my school is using provides teachers with fabulous resources and suggestions for teaching the writing process. At the beginning of this past school year my students were required to complete a writing assessment for the district. Most of my students did not go through all of the writing steps. Instead they drew a picture and then wrote a "final draft." After viewing the results of the assessments I decided to spend quite a bit of time modeling the process with my students. I found that having a document camera and projector was a real benefit. I started with a narrative piece because I believe that narratives are the easiest genre for students. I started with a list of possible writing topics, moved to an idea web, wrote my rough draft (intentional errors included), edited, revised and then published my piece. I spent one day on each step. Wehn I completed each step my students then worked on that same step. At first it was a huge struggle for them and for me. I would end my writing time feeling like I needed a vacation. Gradually I began to see marked improvement in their writing. As the year progressed most of my students began to enjoy writing. Out of 23 students I had about 6 or 7 who became so proficient at the process that they became student teachers to their classmates who needed help. When my students were required to take the writing assessment again in the Spring I was pleased that almost all of them went through the steps correctly. Next year my goal is to be much more deliberate with the skills we focus on during the revising process. Below I included a link to my Teachs Pay Teachers product: week long lesson plan on writing a personal narrative using the process described above. This product will be free through June 25, 2013 for those of you who would like to download it. I have also included a link to my writing prompts product. It includes 150 writing topics geared towards 2nd and 3rd graders. Prompts have students writing letters, narratives, informational pieces, opinion pieces and persuasive pieces. This product is listed at $2.00. I would appreciate any feedback (positive or negative) on these products.

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