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Teaching the Writing Process

I’ve been working in a third grade classroom.  The class began the year with a focus on oral storytelling.  Recently they started their writers’ notebooks.  We’re now moving into their first writing project of the year.  Like most Writing Workshops, this unit focuses on the process writers use when working toward publication.

In order to help Mr. Miller as his students move into drafts, I shared Chapter 7, “From Notebooks to Drafts” in The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing by Hill and Davis.  Today, on my way to work, I was thinking about this phrase — From Notebooks to Drafts — and how it would be a good title for a chart to help students.  As I made this chart, it led me to make another chart titled:  From Drafts to Publication.  It was only logical, then, to make a third chart titled:  From Living to Notebooks (which captured the teaching from the previous week)(Obviously, I wouldn’t introduce all of these on one day . . . they would be used in minilessons when students were ready to move deeper into the writing process.)

I’m anxious to watch how Mr. Miller’s students put the charts to use.  I think they will be a good resource for his young writers as they begin to navigate the writing process for themselves.




Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

7 thoughts on “Teaching the Writing Process Leave a comment

  1. I’ve been sharing “Living Like Writers” mini-lessons and Mentor Texts on my blog, so I loved your anchor chart “From Living to Notebook.” I’ll definitely share a link to this wonderful post with my readers!

    I also love your thoughts on using the anchor charts to track progression through the writing process. I know that some teachers are moving away from “old fashioned” anchor charts and toward electronic formats. Have you seen this too? I love technology, but I hope that anchor charts are an instructional resource that we never move away from. I think I feel a future post coming on…


  2. Thanks for the comments + feedback. I’ve been thinking another use for these charts would be as a place for students to monitor their personal writing processes. For example, each student could have their own clip with their name and then they could move it to the work they plan to do in Writing Workshop. This empowers students to consider their writing work in advance of workshop, gives them a concrete way to track their process, and allows teachers the opportunity to view at a glance the status of their class.


  3. I also love the charts. It made me reflect on how I am using notebooks in my classroom, and brought up a question for you. When you are working with teachers (and when you were in the classroom), how did you balance genre studies with more choice based writer’s workshop?

    So far this year I have been doing more guided entries in our writer’s notebook, as that was the way it was introduced to me as a college student. For example, when we were doing a feature article about our exchange city in Mexico, our professor had us list differences between our host city and hometown. Then we chose two off the list for quick writes. We did other similar activities such as a list of people and from the city, followed by quick writes. By the time it was time to choose a topic we had a lot of ideas to choose from. Then we did activities in the notebook such as experimenting with certain pieces of our articles.

    I enjoy this set-up and think it is effective, but because it is the format that I am most familiar with I feel like I have been overusing it. I want to find a better balance between guiding entries and open entries. I am not sure how to make that transition most effectively.


  4. I’m excited that you are in a third grade classroom (that’s what I teach), and that you are starting with oral storytelling ( that’s the way I start). Great charts and ideas! Lucky class.


  5. These are great ideas and charts.

    I have had a lot of false starts getting the writing workshop started. My students have never been in a workshop format so we are not doing well with independence.



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