Modeled Writing Modeled writing is the teacher being an active writer. The teacher models the selection of topics; demonstrates the skills of gathering and organizing information; shows the need to clarify meaning; and models the ways in which information can be reordered, reoriented, changed, or deleted.“It’s much better if teachers of writing do write themselves. At onestroke, it puts you both in the same world.” - J. R. GentryHow does a teacher model writing? The easiest way is to write when the children are writing.Donald Graves said, “Choose the first five minutes of the beginningof the writing period to write yourself. This is a time when the class isnot to bother you as you compose. You might tell the class what youare going to write about and why you chose the topic.”Another way to model writing is to use large sheets of lined paper ornewsprint. Younger children benefit from this method since they cansee the teacher forming letters, words, and sentences on a largescale directly in front of them. Lastly, the teacher can use theoverhead projector to model writing.What does a modeled writing session look like?The teacher is modeling not only the words that go down on paper orthe specific focus of the lesson, but the teacher is also modeling thethoughts that go with the writing. The teacher is “thinking aloud”while writing. Often the teacher is writing slowly and saying the words a fewahead of what she is writing. She might even verbalize that she is
stuck and is going to reread what she has written. She could ask theclass what they want to know. When she does that, she is modelinghow the children can ask each other questions when they are stuck intheir writing.What should the teacher model? Topic Selection Teachers need to model how to select a topic, how to give reasons for topic selection, and how to write on a variety of topics. It is also beneficial for students to see their teacher keeping a topic list. Gathering and Selecting Information Teachers need to model the usefulness of drawing pictures or diagrams, making graphic organizers, jotting in margins, and notetaking. Writing in a Variety of Forms In order for children to write in a variety of forms, they need to hear and see the variations. The teacher can model variety by reading aloud to children different genres and styles of writing. Then discuss with the class the various genres and literacy styles to discover the defining characteristics of each form. Voice What is “voice”? Voice is the personal quality of the writing, a sense of the writer behind the words – their individual fingerprints on the page. It is the “flavor” or tone appropriate to the purpose for the writing and audience, a sense of commitment to the topic, involvement in the writing, enthusiasm, and integrity. The teacher can model voice by interjecting her thoughts and feelings into her writing and choosing vivid, specific verbs. Then discuss the tone of the piece with the students while stressing the importance of knowing the audience and the purpose for the writing.
Ways in which Writing can be RearrangedTeachers need to model ways that writing can be changed,rearranged, or deleted. At this point, teacher “think aloud” isimperative.Where can a teacher find additional information aboutmodeled writing? Fletcher, Ralph. 1992. Dancing with the Pen. Richard C.Owen Publishers. Graves, Donald. 1983. Writing: Teachers and Children atWork. Portsmouth, N.H.:Heinemann.