Extreme Writing is NOT the writing process….it is only about fluency. Until now, we have assumed fluency will develop well enough just because we ask students to do a lot of writing. Actual attempts to improve fluency directly through Extreme Writing cannot take a minute from the actual process of teaching students how to write. Code and comprehensibility are the tasks of the writing process and cannot be neglected.
The writing process has 5 phases:
- The pre-writing experience. This has to be brilliantly designed to inspire and motivate the students to want to write. It helps to provide them with a really engrossing model to write to, but there are other ways to get them excited about the task. If this doesn’t work, everything else fails. Check out my website dianacruchley.com for a picture book a month, almost all of which provide interesting writing ideas, or provide a model to imitate.
2. Writing. If pre-writing is under your control, writing is totally under their control. If pre-writing fails, students will write dull uninteresting pieces because they are uninspired.
3. Re-visioning. This is hyphenated to show it is “to vision again.” Never say, “Make a good copy.” It implies that your writing is now perfect – all it needs to be now is neat. This is the stage where you have room to teach how to write well, as opposed to just teaching how to write. This is where you can teach how to write a great introduction, a terrific conclusion, the power of speech in a written piece, terrific descriptions. The best time to teach how to write with quality is when they have a draft.
If you were to load this kind of material into the pre-writing phase you would bog it down. First get excited, then pay attention to the model, then pay attention to this way of writing an introduction – just too much to think about at once.
4. Proofreading. This is the stage where you have circulated to see what writing skills need reinforcing. “I noticed that many of you are still forgetting how to do quotations. Let’s have a quick review.” Only one skill at a time.
5. Publishing. This is where your work is shared with others. It is critical to getting quality writing. They can read each others work in pairs, in a group, with a buddy class – when students know that someone other than the teacher will see their work, they produce much higher quality writing.