Writing Mini Lesson #9- The Writing Process


Our last mini lesson #8 was on Table of Contents.  Now it is time to introduce the writing process to your class. Every writing program out there will stress the importance of encouraging students to use steps in a writing process.  Here are some ways I found it helpful with my fourth graders.  Below you will find a link to get these posters for FREE!


1.  Prewriting:  Brainstorming and Graphic Organizer


The first part of prewriting is brainstorming ideas.  If there is not a prompt to follow, then have students go back to their “Ideas” section in their interactive notebooks.  Remember where we brainstormed ideas for our I, heart, hand, home, question mark?  This will get them thinking about a topic that is interesting so their ideas can flow.



The second part is using a graphic organizer.  Whether it is a free writing paper or a prompt, students will need a graphic organizer that will work well for that type of writing.  Click on the graphic organizers below for a free download!



2. Rough Draft 

For this step, I tell my students to JUST WRITE!  Don’t worry about spelling or anything else.  Put your story together by writing writing writing!  Get your thoughts down!  I tell my kiddos to skip lines to have room to revise later.  I love to model this step and my students want to correct all my mistakes and I tell them, “Let me write!  I don’t want to lose my thoughts!”  Get comfortable, sit around the room, and wwwwwrrrrrrriiiiiiiitttttteeeeeee!


3. D.A.R.E. to Revise

Read your story out loud!  The best advice I’ve ever given for this stage is for students to listen to their own writing.  They can read it out loud or record themselves reading their stories.  I guarantee they will find fragments, run-ons, or words that just don’t make sense!  D stands for delete, A stands for add, R stands for rearrange, and E stands for exchange.  In a later mini lesson, I will go in more depth with each of the DARE to revise components.  While revising, I require my students to use a different colored pen or pencil so I can see their attempt to making it better.  So many times these little cherubs think their rough draft is their best draft.  Time to pump them up to REVISE!



4.  C.U.P.S. to Edit


Capitals, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling.  When my students are editing, I ask them to use a different colored pen or pencil. However, if they want to use multiple colors, I allow that as well.  My philosophy is as long as they are editing and I can see their attempts, that is what matters!  Don’t forget that National Punctuation Day is September 24th!!!


5. Peer Reflection


I allow this step so students can get feedback from a peer.  I supply them with a reflection form, sticky notes, and a writing checklist.  I ask them to take this step seriously and pretend they are a teacher or editor.  I remind them that we not only give advice on how to fix their peer’s paper, but we need to let them know the parts that ROCK!  Students should not write on each other’s papers.  Many students take such pride in their work and don’t want anyone else writing on it.  This is where sticky notes are a blessing!  After they receive the sticky note and reflection form, it is completely their own decision on what they want to change OR not.  This is their last chance to make their papers better!



6. Final Copy

Time to be neat!  Depending on your instructions, students need to write final copies neatly.  If they are handwritten, I ask them to sit a desk or table to help assure proper handwriting posture to optimize their final outcome.  If it is a typed paper, it must also be neat and free from typos.

Click here for the UPPER ELEMENTARY version above.  I have a PRIMARY version of these posters as well and guess what?  They are free!  Oh yeah!  No lie!  The picture below is an old picture I had of how I displayed it in the classroom.  Notice in the picture below, I have clothespins.  I have my students mark the step of writing they are on so I can quickly glance and see who may need help.  I can’t take credit for this nifty idea- found it on pinterest, but I do LOVE it!



NEXT UP: Writing Mini Lesson #10- 3 Steps to Prepare for Narrative Writing

All of these ideas are included in the  STEP-BY-STEP Writing Program available for Grades 1-8 designed to scaffold through each type of writing with modeling through every step.  It includes EVERYTHING you need to teach writing for the year: Tracking charts, students resources, graphic organizers, examples, interactive notebook pages, practice pages, mentor text, paragraph writing, narrative writing, opinion writing, informative writing, prompts, checklists, rubrics, anchor charts, etc etc.



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