Process of writing


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  • Rationale: Though students engage in a writing process, they may not be conscious of the steps it entails. Some students who have trouble organizing their thoughts struggle because they do not follow a consistent writing process or they skip steps within the process. This slide presents some important reasons to identify the steps in the writing process. By thinking about the writing process, students may be able to make the process more effective and efficient for themselves. Activity: The facilitator may choose to invite participation by asking students why they need a writing process. Each reason is activated with a mouse click.
  • Rationale: When students spend time thinking about the writing process, they will be able to plan their writing strategies more effectively. Activity: The facilitator may ask students about their own writing processes and invite them to share with the group. While students may follow a “process” for writing, they may not be able to identify all of the steps they go through to write a paper.
  • Rationale: This slide previews the six steps of the writing process. Each element forms a part of a successful writing experience. Key Concept: The facilitator may explain that the writing process is not necessarily sequential--a linear path from invention to proofreading. Writers may generate a topic, collect some information, organize their notes, go back and collect more information, invent subtopics for their work, go back to organization, etc. The writing process is recursive --it often requires going back and forth between steps to create the strongest work possible. Knowing these steps and strategies, however, can be a great help to writers who struggle with their work.
  • Key Concept: The first step in the writing process is invention --developing a topic. Students often make the mistake of latching onto the first idea that comes their way. However, by doing some invention exercises, students can give themselves some options for their writing assignments and allow themselves to consider the ideas that are the most manageable, appropriate to the assignment, and, above all, interesting to the writer. If the writer is bored with the topic, it will show through in the final product.
  • Key Concept: Brainstorming is a method for coming up with ideas for a project. The key to brainstorming is to write down everything that pops into your head--the idea you are the least certain about may be the one you use for your paper! Brainstorming is a way writers can provide themselves with topic options. One brainstorming technique is called listing . This strategy involves a simple list of every idea that pops into the writer’s mind. From this list, writers might choose to narrow down their topics or branch into a related topic. The important thing is that all of these ideas are down on paper so they won’t be forgotten and potentially useful ideas are not lost in the process. Activity: To involve students, the facilitator might ask students the definitions of “brainstorming” and “listing.” Ask students about the writing situations in which they have found listing to be a useful technique. These experiences may inspire other students to give it a try. Click the mouse after “Listing:” to reveal the brainstormed list.
  • Key Concept: Once students decide on a topic, their next step is to collect information. Activity: The facilitator may ask students where they might go to collect research. Answers will likely include such things as books, magazines, and the Internet. Examples: The facilitator might suggest other forms of research, including indexes for periodicals, newspapers, and academic journals (these can be located through the index link on ThorPlus). In particular, the INSPIRE database and the Academic FullText Search Elite database will provide students with a number of printable periodical sources. Interviews can also be useful, whether by phone, through e-mail, or in person. Often, web authors can be contacted through e-mail links on their web pages and may agree to be interviewed through e-mail. Activity: If students are engaged in a particular research assignment, the facilitator may choose to offer guidance on the best places to locate research for the project. For more information on collection strategies, see the presentation titled “Research and the Internet,” located on this CD-ROM.
  • Key Concept: Clustering is another terrific brainstorming idea. Visual learners may find this technique more effective than listing because of the manner in which ideas are spatially arranged. To start, write the word “ME” in the center of your paper and draw a circle around it. Then branch out from the center circle with any ideas that interest you. If more ideas pop into your head, draw branches stemming from your outer circle. Again, the key is to write down as many ideas as possible. Students may find that two smaller branched ideas may work together well to form one solid topic. Or, students may find that their branch circles form supporting ideas or arguments for their main ideas. It is important not only to find a topic, but to find an angle about that topic that can be argued within an essay. Once students find an idea they like, they might form a new cluster by putting their main idea in the center, and then build supporting claims in branched circles. Activity: If the class is about to work on a new writing assignment, it might be a good idea to pause here and have them do some brainstorming by creating their own lists or clusters. The facilitator might ask students to share the results of their lists or come around the room and hold up examples of good clusters. Click the mouse after the “ME” circle to see additional branches.
  • Key Concepts: After writers collect information pertaining to their topics, a useful next step is to organize it--decide where to place information in the argument, as well as which information to omit. One easy way to do this is outlining . Argumentative and narrative papers generally have three main sections. The introduction is used to grab the readers’ attention and introduce the main idea or claim, often in the form of a thesis statement. The body consists of several supporting paragraphs that help to elaborate upon the main claim. Finally, the conclusion serves to wrap up the argument and reemphasize the writer’s main ideas. After gathering information in the collection stage, the writer should think about where each piece of information belongs in the course of an argument. By taking time to organize and plan the paper, writers save time and frustration in the drafting stage; they find that they can follow the pattern they have established for themselves in their outlines.
  • Rationale: Many students struggle with drafting because they make it the second component of their writing process--right after coming up with a topic-- instead of the fourth, after collecting and organizing. Students also struggle because they do not give themselves enough time to complete the drafting process. Key Concepts: With a little bit of pre-planning and organization, the drafting stage can be both a rewarding and efficient experience. First of all, students can avoid the dreaded procrastination by beginning their projects early. A comfortable place to write--whether with a keyboard or a pencil--also aids concentration. Avoiding distractions, such as television, noisy friends, or computer solitaire, will keep writers focused on their projects. Finally, writers should take breaks, preferably leaving off at a place where they know what comes next. This will make it easier to pick up again after the break. Sometimes completing a draft and coming back to it the next day helps students to look at their work with a fresh pair of eyes and a rejuvenated attitude. Writers should not feel compelled to write chronologically. Sometimes the conclusion can be an easier place to begin than with the thesis statement. With each writing assignment, students will be able to find a personal system that works best for them. Activity: The facilitator may ask students to share tips that they have learned about their own successful drafting habits.
  • Rationale: Students tend to view revising as a process of altering word choices and correcting spelling errors. Rather, this presentation separates revising--the revaluation of higher-order concerns --from proofreading--the correction of later-order concerns . Key Concepts: Revising is a process of reviewing the paper on the idea-level. It is a process of re-vision --literally re-seeing the argument of the paper. The revising process may involve changes such as the clarification of the thesis, the reorganization of paragraphs, the omission of unneeded information, the addition of supplemental information to back a claim, or the strengthening the introduction or conclusion. The key to revising is the clear communication of ideas from the writer to the intended audience. This is an important step to take following the drafting stage. Following the completion of an entire draft, students may have a stronger conception of their purpose, intended audience, and thesis statement. Feedback from other readers may also contribute toward the need to re-vision (or re-see) the project. Rather than feeling chained to every printed word, students should be encouraged to look at their writing as an evolving piece of work, subject to change. Sometimes a first draft is just that--a first draft. Again, students must be sure to allow themselves enough time to complete the revising process.
  • Key Concepts: After improving the quality of the content in the revising stage, writers then need to take care of mechanics, including corrections of spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and documentation style. For more information on sentence structure and punctuation, see “Sentence Clarity and Combining” and “Conquering the Comma,” included on this CD-ROM. For presentations on documentation styles, see “Cross-referencing: Using MLA Format” and “Documenting Sources: Using MLA Format,” also on this CD-ROM.
  • Examples: Here are a few tips students can use to proofread their papers: The best tip is to read your paper out loud. Reading aloud forces the writer to engage each word verbally. Often typos, spelling errors, and sentence structure problems can be caught this way. If spelling is a big problem, checking through the paper backwards can also help writers to correct errors. Again, checking backwards will help writers to engage every word. Exchanging papers with a friend can also be a good way to check for errors. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes helps. However, writers need to remember that the paper belongs to them and they are responsible for their work. If a friend corrects something that you don’t think is correct, double check with a grammar book, the OWL web site, or the Writing Lab Grammar Hotline. Sometimes students can develop an overreliance upon technology to correct spelling and grammar errors. However, if you meant to type “Good spelling is important in college” and instead type “Good smelling is important in college,” spell check will not catch the error because “smelling” is a correctly spelled word. Also, many grammar checks function on computer-programmed patterns of words. Often, they cannot process long or complicated sentences. Just because sentences are long or complicated does not mean they are wrong. Having an understanding of grammar yourself is the best way to check over your work.
  • Process of writing

    2. 2. Why do you need a writing process? <ul><li>It can help you to organize your thoughts. </li></ul><ul><li>It can help you to make your writings clearer and more attractive. </li></ul><ul><li>It can help you to use your time productively and efficiently. </li></ul><ul><li>YOUR WRITING WILL IMPROVE!! </li></ul>
    3. 3. Everyone has a writing process. What is yours?
    4. 4. Writing process <ul><li>Invention (Brainstorming ideas) </li></ul><ul><li>Collection (Choosing ideas) </li></ul><ul><li>Organization (mapping ideas) </li></ul><ul><li>Drafting (First attempt) </li></ul><ul><li>Revising (Looking for mistakes) </li></ul><ul><li>Proofreading (Reading from distance and improving your writing) </li></ul>
    5. 5. Invention: finding your ideas <ul><li>Brainstorming: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting your ideas on paper. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It must be raining cats and dogs!! </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Brainstorming: coming up with ideas that interest you Listing: Choose the best main ideas to develop Topics Brainstorming
    7. 7. Collection <ul><li>Gathering and choosing ideas </li></ul>
    8. 8. Clustering: mapping out ideas MAIN IDEA Secondary ideas examples Little anecdotes Details
    9. 9. Organizing: putting information in an outline I. II. III. Outline OUTLINE I. Introduction A. State your idea B. Sum up the main points II. Body A. Develop ideas B. Support ideas with arguments III. Conclusion A. Sum up and emphasize the main idea
    10. 10. Drafting <ul><li>Give yourself time to work on your project. </li></ul><ul><li>Find a comfortable place to do your writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid distractions. </li></ul><ul><li>Use remarkable vocabulary words and grammar structures </li></ul><ul><li>Link your sentences and paragraphs with cool connectors </li></ul><ul><li>Take breaks. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Revising: reviewing ideas <ul><li>Review: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear communication of ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization of paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paragraph structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong introduction and conclusion (catching the reader’s attention) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References to the reader (rhetorical questions, question tags, jokes…) </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Proofreading <ul><li>Review in the distance (time or mate): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spelling & vocabulary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grammar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cohesion (connectors and punctuation) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coherence (meaningfulness and paragraph-text structure) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation (layout, illustrations…) </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Proofreading tips <ul><li>Some time after having finished your writing </li></ul><ul><li>Slowly read your paper aloud. </li></ul><ul><li>Read your paper backwards. </li></ul><ul><li>Exchange papers with a friend. </li></ul>