So What Really Goes on During Writing?
1. Read Aloud/Mentor Text
Writing instruction can begin with a read aloud. Many writing teachers have favorite mentor texts that demonstrate good, effective writing. Typically, teachers in elementary schools use one mentor text per week.
2. The Focus Mini Lesson
The read aloud is followed by a focused mini lesson that explicitly teaches a writing skill or strategy. This is where choosing a good mentor text comes in handy. During the mini lesson, teachers can focus on shared writing and modeling the focus of the lesson. If you'd like to read about the components of a mini lesson, please click here Balanced Literacy: The Mini Lesson. Below is a video showing a mini lesson which you may find helpful.
3. Independent WritingAfter the mini lesson, students need to be provided with independent time to write. Usually, this can be a written response to a prompt or a free writing piece.
While students are independently writing, some may be ready to conference with their teachers. During this time the teacher reads through the piece or the student may choose to read their piece aloud to the teacher. The writing teacher will then find something to compliment the piece with. There should always be something positive to say. After, the teacher can ask questions to help clarify anything that needed to be clarified. Finally, the teacher should make suggestions on the writing and send the students back to revise and edit.
One of the best parts of writing is sharing time. Students love to share their written thoughts. Should this occur daily? YES! Students don't need to have a completed piece to share. Maybe they want to share a drawing, a sentence, or a paragraph they just absolutely LOVE! Encourage sharing in your writing classes.
Hopefully this break down of the writing period will give you some clarity.
* For more ideas on what to do during your writing periods, look for articles and books written by these writing gurus: Lucy Calkins, Ralph Fletcher, Joann Portalupi, Ruth Culham