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Writing Series Part 4: Mistakes You're Making As A Writing Teacher

Do you struggle to support your students in your writing block? This can be accomplished through modeling what are good ideas for writing and conferencing regularly with students. You can always ask yourself the question: Are my students choosing ideas that allow them to make it through the entire writing process? This is one mistake I often see, so today, I’m going to teach you how to make this less frustrating for you and your students!

What's the mistake?

The Writing Process is NOT Linear

Most classrooms are filled with posters of a pencil and a writing process that is linear. The reality is that writing is NOT linear. In fact it spirals. When you think about brainstorming there are many occasions when the ideas we had don't actually work for writing. These need to be revised. Model for your students the importance of revision and going back during each part of the writing process. The more we focus on revision in our units, the more comfortable out students will be with the writing process. Here are some tips to help encourage this in your classroom.

Top 3 tips to avoiding this mistake:

Tip #1: Not all ideas are good ideas

One big component of the writing process is coming up with the right story topic. While this might seem like the easiest part, it is important to remember that not all ideas are good ideas. Obviously, don’t blatantly state this to your students but acknowledge and model for learners that not every story idea will lend itself to a great story. This process needs to be revisited and analyzed. Model this process for your students. For example, let’s say that for a personal narrative unit you are focusing on the overarching theme of learning a lesson. Students brainstorm 5 different times they learned a lesson (in or outside of school). Come back and model for students how some ideas may have happened a long time ago and therefore you don’t have a lot of information. While the story is special and memorable it might be hard to write about. This will validate their story ideas but also teach them to analyze and critically think about whether their story will be good for writing.

Tip #2: Meet with students regularly

Have a method for meeting with students and reviewing their progress throughout the writing process. This might mean sharing insight on a brainstorm, offering feedback on how to stretch a moment, or even helping to restructure their writing to make the events make sense. When we meet with our students we open ourselves to having conversations about writing, and more importantly we create a space that is collaborative versus judgemental. If you struggle to meet with students on a regular basis then pull them together in small groups to discuss as a team.

Tip #3: Model this process with students

Your writing will constantly evolve and when students realize that the writing process does not follow a specific linear process, the easier it will be for them to go back and revise. Model for your students what revision looks like and embrace revising your ideas, brainstorms, writing, and editing. Revision is something that should be embedded in everything we do because when students take the time to redo their work, they will feel more confident in their overall writing.

Did you miss the other parts of this series? Check them out below:


Are you looking for help teaching your writing block? Learn more about The Writing Bridge course and how it can help you as a writing teacher by clicking here! Get everything you need including lessons and planning for the entire school year in this one course!

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