Curriculum Modifications to Help Students Master the Writing Process (page 2)
Think sheets provide a way for students to visually process what they need to do. Think sheets are a working sheet that helps students plan their compositions, and they make it easy for students to see what it is they have to work on. Since think sheets are more visually spatial than traditional outlines, it is easier for students to see the whole project as well as how each part fits into whole. For stories, students would first write their ideas for characters, setting, etc. If students are writing a persuasive paper, on their think sheet they would write their statement of belief, the reasons for their belief, and the facts to support their belief.
Mnemonic Devices for the Writing Process
Mnemonic devices can help students remember the steps involved in the writing process. Some examples include
- POWER= plan, organize, write, edit, and rewrite
- TREE ( for persuasive paper)= Choose your Topic, list your Reasons, Explain your reasons, write your Ending, the restatement of your statement of belief. (Topic, Reasons, Explain, Ending).
- Use Invented Spelling: when students don’t know how to spell a word, they spell as much ash as can, underline it, and keep going. At a stopping point, they raise their hand and the teacher gives them the spelling.*
- Put key vocabulary words on the board on charts so that students can copy them easily when they need to use the words.
*Note: While this technique helps with writing fluency, teachers should not depend on it to improve student spelling. To improve spelling, students need a good spelling program in which they are taught how to spell the high frequency words they have trouble with. Allow students to write on the computer, but teach them keyboarding skills. That way their attention is not focused on typing but on the thought process for the writing.
The Editing Process
- Proofreading: Teach students the COPS rule. First, look for capitals; second, overall appearance; third, punctuation; and fourth, spelling.
- Having students work in groups or pairs is a good strategy for helping them learn about audience awareness in their writing. This technique can help students put themselves in the point of view of their reader. helps develop perspective of needs of the reader. The writer reads his or her first draft to the group or partner, who listens and comments on content using the following format:
I hear ______________________. The listener tells the reader what he or she feels is the gist or main idea of the story. This feedback lets the writer know if he or she has communicated main idea or not.
I like_______________________. Here the listener tells the writer what they like about the piece, which is a good opportunity for positive reinforcement.
I want to know ___________________. With this response, the listener helps identify holes or gaps in the story. This technique avoids criticism while giving the writer valuable feedback.
Have students use a scoring card for their writing in which they can determine whether they have included all the necessary components in their work. For example, if students are writing factual paragraphs, their scoring card might include:
- Does the paragraph have more than one sentence?
- Does the paragraph have a topic sentence?
- Do all the sentences relate to the topic?
- Do all the sentences tell facts not opinions?
When the students reread the composition, they can circle yes or no for each question. If they circled no, the students can go back and correct their error.
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