Saturday, April 27, 2013


For many students the battle starts here because they “don’t know what to write about,” and they are intimidated by the blank piece of paper laying in front of them.

Ways to bring ideas to the surface:


Give students a blank screen or sheet of paper, set a timer for five? ten? minutes, and tell them to write without stopping until the timer dings. They can write about anything they want. If that is too much to ask in the beginning, give them several prompts, simple ideas that ignite the brain and move the fingers.  When they can't think of anything else to write, they can write, "I can't think of anything else to write" until a better thought penetrates the fog. The goal is to dump the content of the brain onto the paper and mine for something that is worthy of the writing process.  Not every freewrite will become a finished piece, but each one allows the writer freedom to express whatever is stirring around in his head without concern for mechanical correctness. Did you get that?  Freewrites are not corrected or critiqued. They are a safe place to experiment with language, with no rules or restraints.

Although freewrites are not typically published, 5 Minute Friday: Kids' Edition is an exception.

It's amazing how much of the writing process happens in the head. Instruct your student to think about the idea, wrestle with it, let it marinate. When they are ready to write, the words will spill out a little easier.

Make a list.
Have students make a list of everything they can imagine about their topic. They don't need to evaluate the ideas that emerge.  They can simply write them down and figure out what stays, and what goes, later.

Graphic organizers
You can find scads of organizers on the web to help kids figure out what they think before they start writing.

Sometimes it helps to discuss ideas with another person (or a group of people) to figure out what we think. Talk with your students, or put them in a setting where they can talk with others.

What do I know? What do I want to know?  What have I learned?
To lay a foundation for drafting, it may be helpful to answer the first two questions.  If the student researches for more information, the third question can be answered. With all of that groundwork, drafting can begin.

This one is appropriate for every stage, for apart from God, what can we really do?

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