"Thinking with the end of a pen"

Pre-Writing Tools and Templates

Use of Concept Maps for Writing Organization

When organizing thoughts, facts, details, examples and quotes for writing, a concept map can be very beneficial planning tool.  It can allow thought to flow clearly and logically, while showing how ideas are connected.  It is a powerful tool for generating and categorizing ideas before starting the writing process.  As directed by teacher, individually, with a partner, a small group and/or class, use a concept map to initiate the writing process.

Use of Storyboards for Writing Organization

A storyboard can serve as a framework to help sequence thoughts and ideas, before beginning the writing process.  Pulling together various parts and seeing the big picture, it is easier to understand how concepts can connect and work together to create the whole.  By visualizing the writing project as a whole and in sequence, a writing roadmap is produced.  As directed by teacher, individually, with a partner, a small group and/or class, use a storyboard to initiate the writing process.

Use of Analogy and Metaphors for Writing Enhancement

Writing experts claim that analogies and metaphors can make your writing more personal, memorable and persuasive.  By creating new and interesting comparisons, new-fangled perspectives and vivid images can be generated in the minds of others.  As directed by teacher, (individually, with a partner, a small group and/or class), create possible analogies and metaphors for enhancing your writing topic.

Wait, Rewrite and Review

A good writer creates drafts when writing.  Many expert writers claim that allowing a day or so between drafts can generate a "fresh look" and allow for a better rewrite.  Studies have also shown that even a strong writer can benefit from the process of peer review.

Use of Rubrics for Writing Assessment

Scoring rubrics have become a common method for evaluating student writing. However, reviewing a writing rubric in the pre-writing stage helps communicate and clarify expectations and avoid common writing pitfalls.  Expert writers claim that using rubrics when revising drafts produces higher quality writing.

Learning Connect Updates:  Learning Connect has provided a preview of the upcoming tools to be available in the future.  They are listed below:
PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS – A series of tools ranging from establishing leadership roles and project goals, to creating project action plans and stakeholder presentations.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP TOOLS – A series of tools for students to begin their journey of constructing their own personal Small Business Portfolio, brick by brick, as a pre-requisite to an actual business plan.
CAREER TOOLS – Five Year Time Capsule to establishing career goals is available.  Tools for Job Interviewing and Workplace Success are in the future.
WRITING TEMPLATE TOOLS – A series of current writing templates are available from pre-writing planning, opinion writing to storytelling and technical writing.

All these drafts will be continually modified, eventually published and aligned with Alexa to ensure successful implementation in the classroom.  Any current classroom implementation and feedback from a classroom experience would be appreciated.

Preparing Students to Succeed . . .

“In order for the United States to produce young people who are well prepared to succeed in whatever they undertake, every teacher at every grade level in every domain must become a strategies teacher.  Strategies instruction needs to be adopted across the curriculum and throughout schools and school districts. It needs to begin when children enter school and continue through 12th grade.”

Gaskins, Irene. (December 23, 2009 Update). Strategies Instruction.