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High School — Writing
Writing Process

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    Writing Process

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      Activities: Help with Fundamentals

      These activities can help you address the fundamentals of Writing Process with your students.

      Pre-Writing: Picture Writing

      Jump-start your students' writing by exposing them to a variety of images from magazines, postcards, newspapers or the Internet. To get them started in developing topics for writing, ask them to answer the following questions about the images they have selected:

      • What happened just before or directly after this photograph was taken?
      • Describe the mood of the picture.
      • Which person in the picture would do the speaking? What would he or she sound like? What kind of language would he or she use? How do you know?
      Drafting: The Art of the Introduction

      A writer's job in crafting an introduction is threefold: The writer must grab a reader's attention, provide background information, and clearly state the purpose. Help your writers meet this challenge by providing them with a checklist, organizer or chart to use as they work on introductions, particularly for longer works, such as research papers.

      Attention-Getter/HookBackground InformationThesis Statement
         

      Suggest to your students that there are several possible ways to approach the drafting of an introduction. Many people write a rough draft without having a grasp on their central idea or their beliefs. Once the ideas are on paper, they discover or refine their purpose, so they may revise the focus, language or order of their introduction. Writers may find it helpful to draft an introduction first and then revise it once the body of the paper is complete. Students should consider a few different approaches:

      • Write the introduction before you write the body of your essay;
      • Write the introduction after you write the body of your essay;
      • Draft the introduction first and revise it once you have written your essay.
      Revising: The Concrete and the Specific

      Encourage your students to be as specific as possible in their writing so the details of the story come to life. Ask them to work in pairs on a sample piece of writing, highlighting all the nouns. Partners can challenge one another to revise for more specific details. For example, if a writer mentions a dog, his partner should prompt him to describe the dog in more specific terms, such as a friendly husky or an energetic golden retriever. If a writer mentions food, the partner should remind her to be specific. For example, rather than just mentioning food in general, the writer could describe a homemade sweet potato pie.

      Editing: Grammar Journal

      An English Grammar Journal can serve both as a method for students to analyze and reflect on their work and as a reference tool for students to use as they write. Encourage students to log past errors or discoveries from writing assignments as they study teacher and peer feedback on their work. Some suggestions for students to include in their Grammar Journals:

      • Parts of Speech -- Students might list parts of speech that have confused them, including some related facts and examples from their own work.
      • Punctuation Rules -- Students might record a description of various types of punctuation with sentences that illustrate correct usage in areas that have challenged them in the past.
      • Sentence Structure Guidelines -- Students can write different types of sentences (simple, compound and complex), including information about each type of sentence and an example of each one from their writing.

      As you work with your students on particular grammatical challenges, encourage them to add information they have learned to their reference tool.

      Publishing: A Writing Museum

      Publishing is an important step in helping students understand that they have reached a final version of their drafts. A writing museum will give students, particularly those who are working on the fundamentals of the writing process, the opportunity to celebrate an important milestone.

      The idea behind a writing museum is to set up a special place in the classroom for students to view one another's writing. They should prepare a final draft for display by printing out their text with enhanced graphics or illustrations. The class can then visit each writing sample on the wall. Ask each student to comment on or explain her work.

      Other ways to make a writing museum special include: asking students to dress up, playing music, serving food and inviting other students or parents to view the students' work.

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