Write the heading “What Writers Do” at the top of a piece of chart paper
Write the 5 key behaviors underneath: Think about something you know a lot about, Draw pictures, Label pictures, Write sentences about it, Spell the best you can and move on!
Decide on a topic for your model text
Draw a picture illustrating the main idea or character at the top of a piece of chart paper
Gather writing materials
Each student will need 1 pencil and a piece of lined paper with a blank area for illustrating a picture
Show students the What Writers Do chart and explain that you will be reviewing the steps that good writers take
As you explain each step, invite student questions and comments
Provide examples at each step, using a think-aloud if desired
For example, “Hmm. What should my topic be? Maybe I should write about outer space. Wait a minute. I don’t know very much about outer space. What do a I know a lot about? I know! Skating! I go skating with my mom all the time, and I take skating lessons. So I will pick skating as my topic.”
Model the writing process using the What Writers Do chart as a guide
Show students your picture that you have already drawn
Invite the students to help you label the picture with key words
Model writing sentences about the picture
While you are writing the sentences, model underlining words you don’t know how to spell and moving on
Invite students to write about a familiar topic using the What Writers Do chart as a guide
You may wish to work through the chart sequentially, reviewing each step with the class as they work to complete it
English Language Learners/ESL:
- Display pictures and symbols beside each step on the What Writers Do chart as a visual representation - Provide students with pictorial and personal dictionaries while writing
LD/Reading & Writing Difficulties:
- Allow students to work on writing using a typing program or speech-to-text software program - Scribe for students so that the ideas are the focus - Display a variety of topics and story starters from which students can choose to write about
Cultural Appropriateness & Diversity:
- Encourage students to make personal connections when writing
- Provide a variety of sentence starters as examples from which students can choose - Allow students to write about a variety of topics of interest
Evidence: Jasmine, J. & Weiner, W. (2007). The effects of writing workshop on abilities of first grade students to become confident and independent writers. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35, 131-139.
The goal of What Writers Do: A 5-Step Writing Process is to aid students in understanding a specific process that they can use to help them write meaningful and well-developed compositions.
What You Need
20 minutes - Prepare What Writers Do chart - Decide on a topic for modeled writing and draw a picture - Gather writing material
30-40 minutes - Teacher introduces the Writing Workshop - Teacher explains the five key things that good writers do - Teacher models the five key things using an example - Students write about a familiar experience
Teacher: - Chart paper - Markers Students: - Lined paper - Pencils (1 per student)
What You Do
Direct instruction: - while introducing What Writers Do Modeling: - while showing students the steps involved in the writing process Consultant: - while students write about a familiar experience
Whole class: - during introduction of the 5-step writing process Individual: - when students write about a familiar experience
- Hold conferences with each student and record goals and next steps a. Make observations and take anecdotal notes while reviewing students' work
- Provide students with formative feedback including strengths and next steps a. Record anecdotal comments on students' first drafts
- Provide students with oral feedback during one-on-one conferences or small group instruction
- Self-Assessment: Have students assess their work by comparing it to the What Writers Do chart a. Encourage students to add details and exciting words to make their work more interesting to read
- Display the What Writers Do chart at the writing centre
- Display students work on a writing wall
- Encourage students to share their writing during an "author's chair" or paired writing activity
- Each week select an "author of the week" and display his/her work in a special place
- Providing a clear sequence of steps for students can help them to understand the components of the writing process. This 5-step sequence is just one example of a strategy that students can use to help them write (it focuses heavily on planning and pre-writing). You can modify this process to suit the needs of your students or to support the writing of different kinds of texts (for example, adding a revision step, changing the "drawing a picture" step to a brainstorming step).
- Have students keep their writing in a writing portfolio. At the end of each term invite students to reflect on their writing by selecting their favorite work. Encourage students to share their writing portfolio with their parents each term.
- Students are always eager to share their writing with others. Invite students to share a piece of writing during an "author's chair."
- Provide a quiet working space for students disturbed by sound