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High School — Writing
Writing Process

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Writing Process

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Activities: Advanced Work

These activities can help your students reach the next level in their understanding of Writing Process.

Pre-Writing: Keep a Writer's Notebook

Inspire your students to create their own topics for writing by providing them with materials and suggestions for keeping a writer's notebook. The notebook should be a place where students collect images, words and observations that they can use in their writing, both in class and on their own. Encourage students to share their notebooks at various stages during your explorations of the writing process. Ask them to talk about the images they have cut and pasted, the passages or quotations that interested them, and the people or events they recorded from their lives.

A writer's notebook can inspire students to connect their experiences and interests with their academic and personal writing. In addition to enriching their writing in class with interesting details, these notebooks encourage students to observe, record and write frequently in their daily lives outside school.

Drafting: From Start to Finish

Ask students to share a "story starter" with a classmate. In pairs, partners can write possible stories and endings in response to each other's prompts or ideas. Students can also share their "story starter" with more than one classmate and collect several possible endings.

When students write stories inspired by their classmate's beginnings, ask them to sometimes write endings that include fantastical elements (such as a wish, magic or a surprise) and to sometimes write realistic endings (in which a character solves the problem using her knowledge or skills). Encourage student writers to experiment with writing cliffhangers, suspenseful situations at the end of a scene, chapter or story.

Revising: Describe Your Style

Pair students and ask them to read several samples of each other's writing. After each person has read several pieces of a partner's writing, ask the pairs to discuss the following:

  • Describe the writing. Is it funny? upbeat? straightforward? flowery? vivid?
  • Does the writer state opinions?
  • Does the writer frequently repeat any favorite phrases or words?
  • Does the voice in these writing samples seem to mirror the writer's speech in daily conversation?
Editing: The Grammar Lady / The Grammar Gentleman

Establish a time once a week to challenge an assigned student to step into the role of the Grammar Lady or the Grammar Gentleman. This alter ego should visit your classroom prepared to lead the class in a two-to-three minute grammar mini-lesson that he or she has planned. The subject of the lesson should come from an error that the assigned student recently discovered in his or her writing. For example, if the student scheduled to appear as Grammar Gentleman had a comma splice pointed out in his last essay, he might lead the class in a brief explanation of a comma splice and provide some strategies for correcting them (such as adding a conjunction or a semicolon to the independent clauses that were mistakenly separated by just a comma). This activity might help make the study of grammar more relevant.

Publishing: Assemble a Magazine

Study the process of putting together a magazine and ask students to work in assigned roles. For example, organize distinct groups of editors, writers and copy editors.

  • Editors can decide what topics the writers will address and assign specific questions they should ask and answer in their articles.
  • Writers can practice identifying and following the format and length of a magazine article.
  • Copy editors can check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Depending on your classroom resources, you might also have students act as designers or publishers.
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