Beacon Lesson Plan Library
DescriptionStudents will learn methods to warm up and get ideas to begin the writing process and get over the “blank–page, I-don't-know–what-to-write-about” syndrome.
ObjectivesThe student selects and uses appropriate pre-writing strategies, such as brainstorming, graphic organizers, and outlines.
-Copies of handouts. See attached file.
Preparations1. Prepare definitions and make copies of handouts in attachments for students.
Procedures1. Explain the steps in the process of writing - from prewriting to writing to revising.
2. Explain that writing is a skill that can be learned – not a “magic quality” that some people are born with.
3. Discuss the pre-writing process of thinking, jotting down ideas, and narrowing the topic by selecting and dropping ideas, and arranging ideas in a plan or outline.
4. Explain this process by using the steps of brainstorming, clustering and questioning.
5. Define terms and distribute handout of definitions and illustrations of the techniques and methods of using brainstorming, clustering and questioning to effectively focus on a topic and to discover ideas you already have around to write about. Explain and answer any questions students have.
6. State or write topics on the board, such as “My Pet,” “Best Friends,” “Computers,” “Teenage Pregnancy” or have students call out 5 topics that are of interest to them and about which they can write.
7. Students select the technique or method of brainstorming, clustering and questioning that they feel will fit each of the topics. (Discuss with students their reasons for assigning these techniques to each topic.)
8. Label each topic selected with the appropriate technique.
9. Select one topic for each technique for students to practice the process.
10. Students refer to examples of each method from the handout. With each topic, students will call out associations and teacher will write on board following the method as labeled to illustrate how each technique is done and organized. (Can set a time limit of 1 minute for free-association ideas for each method.)
11. Remind students to focus on the topic and to relate any ideas that come to mind.
12. Review the process of looking, thinking, responding, and reviewing their free-association ideas in relation to having specific ideas to use in the writing of a paragraph or essay around the topic selected.
13. Discuss any concerns students have so there is a clear understanding of each technique and the process of making free associations of ideas.
14. Write pre-selected topic or topics for each technique on the board but do not label topics with the best technique to be used.
15. Students discuss which method would be appropriate for each topic and why.
16. Each student selects one topic that he or she feels would be appropriate for each technique or method. (Students may select different topics.)
17. Have each student write his or her selected topics at the top of a sheet of paper. (A separate piece of paper should be used for each topic and technique.)
18. Set a time limit of about 5 minutes for free association of ideas for each method. (The time is optional, but students tend to focus better if a time is set.)
19. State the first method to be done, have students pull their papers for the selected topic for that method, announce the time limit allowed, remind students to focus on the topic and the technique. When students are ready, begin the prewriting process. (This will be done with all the topics selected by the students.)
20 Allow a brief “brain rest” after each method has been practiced. Discuss with students how the process worked for them, if they had any difficulties, if they needed more time for the process, if the the topic was appropriate for the technique, if they need to change any of the topics selected for the other methods, etc.
AssessmentsStudent will select and use pre-writing strategies to think about a topic, jot down ideas, narrow the topic, select ideas, and arrange ideas in a plan using an appropriate graphic organizer, such as brainstorming, clustering, or questioning. Students will be assessed formatively with a minimum of 12 to 15 written responses to brainstorming and clustering and 2 to 3 written responses to questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?
ExtensionsThis lesson is a beginning lesson for students to discover their own thinking process to access their own information and organize it for the writing process. This lesson can be adapted for use in the ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, or LD classes at all levels.
Attached FilesAttached will be definitions of the following terms used in the prewriting process: brainstorming, clustering, and questioning. Also attached are examples of each process. File Extension: pdf
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