Developing Student Writing best practice

In past years, structured formulaic writing ruled.  Starting in primary grades, students were taught a formula for writing.

Now students are asked to learn the writing process of first brainstorming to generate ideas, drafting to get ideas out on paper, have a peer look at the writing for immediate guided feedback, revision (re-seeing), a peer providing feedback on teacher-developed writing expectations, final draft writing, proofreading and editing.

A rubric guides the work, including what’s needed for all students and differentiated for some students.

Mini-lessons are taught for common errors or needs, such as how to develop a thought more, with explication and information

Teacher-developed or class-developed peer edit guides are used.

Develop peer editing using “baby steps” with short time period, small focused peer editing.  The teacher reviews at the final draft.

Graphic organizers are especially helpful for more struggling writers, but can squelch many writers, since writing is thinking, and ideas are generated through the process of writing.

Via peer editing, we have multiple wins:

  • The writer knows a peer will be reading this writing
  • Immediate feedback
  • The peer editor learns what’s needed for good writing for metacognition, learning about learning
  • The teacher isn’t burdened with seeing forever the same old apostrophe errors, sentencing errors, incoherent writing, lack of organization
  • The teacher isn’t taking home a pile of papers to write all over but not necessarily having the student read the connections
  • The student learns to write through the stages and feedback process
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