Category: Teaching Writing Process Strategies

Archive for the ‘Teaching Writing Process Strategies’ Category

Oct 12 2010

Strategies for Teaching Students Writing Process Strategies – Tips Adapted from our Rhetorics

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Writing: A Manual for the Digital Age by David Blakesley and Jeffrey L. Hoogeveen

  • Invention (Chapter 1-3):
    • Thinking about Context from the writer’s perspective and the reader’s perspective.
    • Analysis of the textual, immediate, and social and historical contexts for the writing situation.
    • Examine the rhetorical situation.
    • Freewrite. (See p. 34 for tips on freewriting on a computer.)
    • Generate alternatives with group brainstorming.
    • Write a dialogue to represent multiple perspectives.
    • Make a cluster map.
    • Define, compare, or examine cause/effect.
    • Researching as invention (see p. 41).
  • Drafting (Chapter 4):
    • Work with a partner to narrow your topic by asking each other questions and considering the subtopics of most interest to you.
    • Refine the thesis statement (see pp. 47-51 for activities).
    • Examine whether the writing situation calls for a thesis (see p. 4).
    • Examine body paragraph structure with T-R-I (Topic, Restriction, Illustration) and T-R-I-R (Topic, Restriction, Illustration, Restriction) examples (see pp. 54-55).
    • Color code key terms used to keep the reader on track (pp. 56-57).
    • Examine the functions of transitional expressions (see p. 58).
    • Write alternative conclusions.
    • Create working or topical outlines.
  • Drafting & Revising to Develop Ideas (Chapter 5):
    • Revise a paragraph, or the whole paper, for unity.
    • Revise for topical flow.
    • Color-code transitions, pronouns, and other lexical ties that aid coherence.
    • Experiment with using parallel structure to create coherence.
    • Extend description or process analysis (see pp. 76-77).
    • Analyze use of: cause and effect, definition, contrast, problem-solution paragraphs, narration, exemplification, and/or classification and division.
    • Diagram classification and division.
  • Revising (Chapter 6):
    • Use a self-evaluation checklist (see p. 88).
    • Examine your response to the rhetorical situation. See p. 90 for self-assessment questions focused on audience and purpose.
    • Respond from a reader’s point of view.
    • Focus on small parts of the draft: the introduction, a body paragraph, or the conclusion.
    • Evaluate evidence used (see pp. 94-95).
    • Gloss paragraphs to reassess the organization of the text.
    • Track versions with file naming conventions (see p. 98 for an example).
    • Point, summarize, and reflect (see p. 101).
  • Editing (Chapter 6):
    • Use the paramedic method (see p. 99).
    • Have your computer read aloud (see p. 107).
    • Read line by line.
    • Read sentences in reverse order.
    • Focus on global issues, then local issues.
    • Review for your own patterns of errors (see p. 109 for some common style and mechanics mistakes/errors).
  • Reflection: Describe your writing process. Consider how the writing process might change depending on the type of project and the rhetorical situation.
  • Part 1 (the first six chapters) of the text focuses on “Managing Your Writing Process,” and others process strategies are scattered throughout discussions of research, design, style, and reading and writing critically.

Everything’s an Argument by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz

  • This text includes a variety of rhetorical strategies that could be introduced as part of the planning or drafting processes.
  • The faculty member would need to help student connect these rhetorical strategies to the development of their own writing process strategies.

The Academic Writer by Lisa Ede

  • Part 1 (Chapters 1-3) examine the rhetorical writing processes.
  • Part 3 (Chapters 8-12) offer additional strategies.
  • Invention:
    • Freewriting, looping, and brainstorming.
    • Clustering and asking journalistic questions.
    • Asking topical questions.
    • Research and discover drafts.
  • Planning and Drafting:
    • Write a workable plan.
    • Manage your own drafting process (see pp. 256-259).
    • Focus on thesis statement.
    • Follow textual conventions.
  • Revising:
    • Self-assessment (see p. 283).
    • Soliciting feedback from different groups of readers and using that feedback.
    • Revise for style (coherence and voice).
  • Reflection:
    • Reflect on your experience as a writer.
    • Identify and analyze your composing process (see questions on p. 35).

Meeting of Minds by Patsy Callaghan and Ann Dobyns

  • Chapter 1 includes an extended discussion about writing process strategies.
  • Chapter 2 includes an extended discussion about rhetorical situations and includes strategies for matching rhetorical choices to the situation.
  • Chapter 11 includes 27 pages of strategies for revising.
  • Chapter 12 focuses on editing.
  • Planning:
    • Brainstorm
    • Sketch
    • Talk to people
    • Ask questions
    • Argue against your idea
    • Gather information
  • Revising:
    • Add material
    • Delete material
    • Reorder material
    • Connect ideas
    • Make substitutions for clarity or emphasis.

Apr 14 2010

Activity Showcase: Peer Review and Self-Assessment (Paula Patch)

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The grading rubric is a great tool for facilitating both self- and peer assessment. During most of our peer review sessions, the students refer to and use the grading rubric for the assignment, which is useful for several reasons:

  • They are using the same criteria to assess their work and their peers’ work as I will use to assess the product. They have no excuse for not understanding the expectations for the assignment.
  • On that note, if they don’t understand the expectations as they are written on the rubric, this is a good time to ask me questions about it.
  • The rubric stands in for me in the role of assessor, which
    • frees me up to play different roles during the review session, such as mentor or “pretend” peer
    • allows students to step into my role for a while, to view their own writing from my perspective. I tend to refer to this shift as the “What would Professor Patch say?” perspective. It works best on the second and subsequent assignments, when they’ve “heard” me in feedback on at least one major writing assignment.

The students evaluate one another’s writing by marking the rubric and by making comments in the margins of the peer’s essay.

After they have received feedback from their peers, students complete the reflective self-assessment activity, which I copy onto the back of the rubric. When they leave the review session, they have multiple types of feedback, along with a plan, to refer to as they revise their essays.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Grading Rubric

Essay Is

Exceeds Expectations

Meets Minimum Expectations

Needs Work

Does Not Meet Assignment Requirements

Points Earned/ Allotted


  • Includes a thesis
  • Focuses on the thesis throughout



  • Describes, explains, and reflects on how/why/to whom your sources present information
  • SHOULD NOT simply summarize what the sources say
  • SHOULD NOT attempt to answer your research question



  • Includes multiple examples of relevant textual evidence from each source
  • Provides an explanation or interpretation of the evidence that clearly ties the evidence to the argument


Meets audience expectations

  • Engaging
  • Clean and clear
  • MLA formatting and documentation



Self-Assessment and Revision Plan

What do you like best about your essay?

What do you like least?

Look at the rubric:

What does your essay seem to be missing?

Where can your essay be strengthened?

Based on the feedback from your peers and your self-assessment, list at list 5 things to work on in your revision:






Apr 14 2010

Peer Review – Activities Shared by Faculty

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  • Paula Rosinski:
    • Lately I’ve been using the Evaluation Criteria for peer-response – so in groups they read and make comments based on how well the Evaluation Criteria are being met. I also use the Writing Center model, instructing the writer to select 2 or 3 things they want feedback on.
    • The peer-response to a Writing Center Report (attached) is very specific to the assignment, but I try and change up how we do peer-response in class (not only for diverse learners but for students who are going to be future teachers).
  • Paula Patch :
    During most of our peer review sessions, the students refer to and use the grading rubric for the assignment, which is useful for several reasons:

    • They are using the same criteria to assess their work and their peers’ work as I will use to assess the product. They have no excuse for not understanding the expectations for the assignment.
    • On that note, if they don’t understand the expectations as they are written on the rubric, this is a good time to ask me questions about it.
    • The rubric stands in for me in the role of assessor.
  • Jessie Moore:
    I ask students to practice collaborative writing strategies, using digital literacy tools, while developing expectations for peer response participation in the class for the remainder of the semester. (See attachment for the Revson Digital Literacies Project version of this activity, as well as a sample document created by one of my classes.)

Feb 10 2010

Activity Showcase: Drafting Class Expectations for Peer Response (Jessie Moore)

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Description of Activity

Students practice collaborative writing strategies, using digital literacy tools, while developing expectations for peer response participation in the class for the remainder of the semester. Small groups draft sections of the class document and then post them for comment by other groups. Based on the feedback they receive, groups revise their sections before the sections are combined to form the class document.


The activity gives students an opportunity to practice using collaborative writing tools (i.e., Track Changes and Comments) and strategies (i.e., file naming, tracking revisions, accepting or rejecting proposed changes, discussing proposed revisions). In turn, it supports students’ development of a more sophisticated writing process.


If students have previous experience with peer review, this activity could be completed early in the semester. If students don’t have much experience with peer review, they might take more ownership of the class expectations after the first peer review activity of the semester.

Materials/tools needed:

  • Blackboard discussion board.
  • MS Word
  • Track changes/Comments handout
  • Optional reading for homework
    • From Writing: A Manual for the Digital Age: Contributing to Group Projects (2g, p. 27), Peer Review (6h, pp. 101-105), and Tracking Changes (pp. 110-113)
    • From The Academic Writer: Guidelines for Group Work (pp. 39-40), Guidelines for Group Brainstorming (p. 239), and Guidelines for Working with a Writing Group (p. 288)

Overview of Activity:

1. As a class, brainstorm characteristics of helpful/unhelpful feedback (from peers, faculty, family members, Writing Center consultants, etc.). (5-10 minutes)

2. Divide the class into five (5) groups.

3. Students work in groups to draft one of five sections:

  • Writer’s Responsibilities in Preparation for Peer Response
  • Writer’s Responsibilities during Peer Response Discussions
  • Reader’s Responsibilities when making Written Comments
  • Reader’s Responsibilities during Peer Response Discussions
  • Instructor’s Responsibilities during Peer Response

Students draft their section in a Word Document.

Optional ways to encourage participation:

  • Each student could be required to contribute at least one idea to their section. (Students could practice using track changes within their group to demonstrate their individual contributions.)
  • Group members could be assigned roles (examples: time keeper, recorder, creative idea person, etc.)
  • Faculty member could prompt participation while circulating among groups.

4 Groups post drafts (written in MS Word) to a Blackboard discussion board. (10-20 minutes for drafting and posting, at instructors’ discretion)

    5. Instructor introduces track changes and comments. (5-10 minutes)
    (Consider having students explain how to use these features. While one student might not know all the features, you could pose questions to the class – i.e., If I wanted to hide the comments but didn’t want to delete them, what could I do? – and let students who are familiar with the tools answer while you demonstrate on the screen.)

    6. Another group offers feedback/suggests revisions using comments (to pose comments or questions) and track changes (to suggest revisions) and posts their document as a reply to the first group’s post on the Blackboard discussion board. (10 minutes)

      7. Instructor leads a whole-class review of each section and discussion. The drafting group introduces their ideas and the response group shares their suggestions/critiques. The drafting group is responsible for taking notes about the class discussion, reviewing the response group’s suggested revisions, and re-posting their portion of the document (with tracked changes accepted/rejected and other revisions based on the class discussion). (15-20 minutes)

      [The activity could end here for one class session and the class could briefly return to the activity during the next class session. Students could read the final document (created in step 8) for homework.]

        8. Faculty member (or student volunteer) combines sections and posts for final review.

          9. The class discusses this activity as an example of collaborative writing. (5-15 minutes, at instructors’ discretion)

            • What worked well?
            • How did the review tools facilitate collaboration among groups?
            • What did students do within their groups to facilitate collaboration?
            • How do the commenting and track changes tools change the act of collaborating?
            • In what ways did your group apply what you discussed about peer response to this activity?

            10. Final Reflection: Students write a 5-minute reflection on the experience and how they might use the strategies they learned in other contexts.

              Reflect on your collaborative writing experience. What strategies worked well for you as you collaborated with your group? What experiences challenged your individual writing process? How might you use the strategies you learned today in other contexts?

              • Consider using different strategies for peer response (handwriting, Word features, summative response, etc.) throughout the semester and prompting student reflection on which strategies they would use for different circumstances.
              • Facilitate a discussion highlighting these tools as one strategy for managing collaborative writing and response. Talk about challenges of different strategies and how you might decide which strategies are best for your current collaborative writing circumstances.