Looking for a step-by-step guide to help students tackle the writing process? Let’s go! We all know that writing is an essential skill for students, and often carries a sense of anxiety. The mere mention of writing can make many students feel overwhelmed.
However, there’s a solution to this common problem – teaching students writing process. The magic lies in taking that BIG concept and breaking it down so students can understand it conceptually. By breaking down the writing task into manageable steps, students can not only overcome their anxiety but also become confident writers- because they know what to do. Let’s explore why students should know the writing process and how to teach it step by step.
Why Should Students Know the Writing Process?
We know that understanding the writing process is like having a roadmap that guides students through the challenging terrain of writing. This knowledge minimizes the anxiety students often experience when faced with a blank page. As one insightful quote states, “By knowing that you have a series of separate steps you can follow that break the intimidating task of ‘WRITING’ down into manageable parts, you will feel much less anxiety and struggle in writing.” -MIT Global Studies
Step 1: Introduction to the Writing Process
So, what do we do to tackle the writing process? Let’s begin by introducing students to the concept of the writing process. Explain that it’s a series of steps that help them craft effective pieces of writing. Show them the BIG PICTURE and then help them zero in. We want them to memorize and conceptualize this chant.
Step 2: Memorize the Writing Process Chant
To make the writing process memorable and fun, create a chant or rhyme that outlines the key steps. I created a chant that we recite every day from the FIRST day of school. You can listen to the chant by watching the video below.
You can also have your students memorize it and perform it for the class! I have students record their version and then they send in clips for us to play. Here’s one of my favorites:
Step 3: Break Down Each Step
Break down the writing process into its key components: Planning, Drafting, Revising, Editing, and Publishing. Provide clear explanations for each step and give examples to illustrate the process. I use these checklists. You can download an editable version of these by clicking here.
Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice
As you teach your writing lessons, coach students into thinking through their writing with a writing process lens. No matter what the writing assignment is, the students need to remember to take their ideas, plan them out, revise, edit, and publish. Every time. Some pieces require more consideration on each level- but even a test prompt response can be approached with the writing process in mind. We have to give students multiple opportunities to use the process every time.