Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Writing Process

My district dove into Common Core ELA last year with the introduction to Balanced Literacy and reading workshop.
Midway through the year, we introduced writing workshop through the fabulous training of Matt Glover.  Below you will find an image of Matt Glover and a couple books that he has written.
I have enjoyed my training and conversations with him and look forward to our district training that he is presenting this Friday.
Click on the image of Matt Glover to find more information about him and his books.

As you know from reading some of my most recent posts, I received training from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project from New York.
What an experience that was!
And how lucky am I to be part of it!
Click on the images below to read more about Lucy Calkins and Natalie Louis (my presenter from TCWRP).

My training was geared more towards primary and my administrators was towards upper elementary.
A big topic during this time was the writing process.
In my training, Natalie referred to the writing process as Think, Plan, Write, Revise, Edit, Publish.
My principals heard it as Collecting, Developing, Drafting, Revising, Editing, Publishing/Celebrating.
In the world of Matt Glover, he talks of three stages during a unit: Immersion, Close Study, Writing Under the Influence.
On the internet, you most often hear of the process referred to as Prewriting, Drafting, Revising, Editing, Publishing.

Are these all the same process just a spin off of each other?  I mean you can't make money using the same thing as someone else.   You have to make it your own and name and describe it differently right?
As a Teaching and Learning Coach (known as an Instructional Coach to most people)  my job is to guide and instruct my teachers.
That's difficult when you are hearing so many different stories!
What is the "right" process?

With this in mind, I am almost finished with writing a unit on Vignette-style Memoirs.
I love learning knew things, but with fresh information in my brain, it makes revising this unit more difficult.
It makes me question what I have.
Every 5th grade teacher in my district will be using these.
I want them to be the best they can be.

So where do language standards fit into the writing process?
Do they fit at all?  Part of me thinks they should be incorporated into word study time.
At this point in the game, I have them in the revising and editing section.
We are incorporating CCSS L.5.1 and L.5.3 (varied sentence structure and verb tense in particular).
Are these revision lessons or editing lessons?
At first I had sentence structure as revision because you vary them to add to them meaning of your story.  For instance, short sentences can slow down a story and long run-on type sentences create a sense of urgency or excitement.
But now I am thinking now, that it should be editing because it is about structure (simple, compound, and complex sentences).
After spending some time researching on the internet, I found that no one seems to have a good answer to this.
Revising and editing have a blurred line between them.

I have verb tense as an editing lesson.  For the most part I feel good about this decision because it would fall under usage.
But at this point, I am questioning everything!

So what do you think?
What is the writing process to you?
Where does sentence structure fit in the process?
What about verb tense?

Thanks for you thoughts about this!


  1. I am so jealous of your training with Lucy Calkins! I just ordered her units of study to use for writing this fall and I can't wait. I think the writing process is basically the same, but different programs call it different things.

    With Common Core, I really feel that the standards should be taught and re-taught in conjunction with each other rather than as separate stand alones. They really fit together in the real world. When we write, we really edit often as we go along (thanks spell check), we revise and add when we find new information in our reading. I think school should be taught the way we use it - skills used together rather than in isolation. My two cents for what it is worth :)

  2. Kelly- Thank you so much for your thoughts on this. I am constantly second guessing myself. There is a huge amount of stress that goes with writing units of study that every 5th grade teacher in the district will use. I agree with you completely.

    We got to preview Lucy's new units. They are amazing. There is so much more to them than the day-to-day teaching. Natalie showed us a continuum that is included which could be used to assess student writing and determine where to go next with instruction. You will not be disappointed with them.

    Thanks again! :)

  3. LOVE Lucy Calkins!!!! She is amazing!! :)

  4. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog and love it! I also use Writer's Workshop and attended the summer week long program a few years ago. I use the writing process (brainstorm, draft, revise, edit, publish). I teach the grammar during the editing process. One or two skills a paper, and they are responsible for those skills when I see the published piece. It is cumulative, so what I taught the first paper must be present in the second and so on. I keep the charts up all year as we go for a reminder. I think this works out great bc I feel grammar needs to be significant to the kids for them to take it seriously and to really grasp it.