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Incorporate Pre-Writing Exercises into Assignments


ELA: Writing ^21st Century Skills All Ages Strategy


Flexible Thinking Organization Verbal Reasoning

Incorporate Pre-Writing Exercises into Assignments

If your student has difficulty coming up with ideas for writing assignments

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Students will engage in pre-writing exercises to help them come up with ideas, think through best options, and organize their thoughts before diving into the writing.
  2. Instruction and Practice: Guide students through pre-writing activities by modeling the various approaches (on the next slide) to find what is most comfortable and effective in helping them before they begin writing.

Approaches To Pre-writing

  1. Brainstorming: Introduce a topic and have students write a list of any ideas they have, without judgment: If it pops in your head, write it down. Have students look at their paper and group similar ideas, eliminate ideas, or build on an idea.
  2. Free-writing: This is an extended form of brainstorming. Take an idea and write a few phrases or sentences about it -- whatever comes to your mind. Don't limit your creativity by judging your ideas. Ignore grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. (This technique might be best for students who start a paper and then realize they do not have enough ideas to write about.)
  3. Mind-mapping: This is a visual form of brainstorming. Put the topic in the center and then brainstorm how different ideas connect or build off of other ideas. (Mindmapping can be best for students with stronger visual reasoning skills.) Here are some mindmapping tools.
  4. Journaling: Journals are best if a student knows well in advance about a paper. Start a journal of ideas. Whenever a topic or idea pops into your head during class or homework write it down. When it is time to choose a topic you will have your ideas. (Helpful to support attention and flexible thinking.)

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

As students get older they tend to restrict their thinking, often worried about what is or is not good enough. These techniques encourage students to generate ideas and make connections to what they have learned without fear of criticism or judgment.

Best-suited for students with weaker: Attention, Self-Regulation, Long-term Memory, Working Memory, Processing Speed (Source: Digital Promise Learner Variability Project)