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Vary Time Spent in the Writing Process
february 4, 2019
Teachers already know they are to provide students with a wide range of writing experiences. This includes writing about various topics, for different purposes, to diverse audiences, and in numerous genres. However, there is often a facet of this writing standard that is overlooked. Teachers are also expected to provide students with a range of time frames to execute the writing process. This includes providing multiple days to craft a piece and requiring a complete product to be generated within one sitting.
CCR.W10—Write routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Beyond knowing the individual steps of the writing process, students also need instruction on how to adjust them to fit the constraints of various circumstances. This requires that students see the steps of the writing process as flexible; they don’t look the same every time.
We need to teach students to adjust the pace of the writing process by cutting and prioritizing steps. Students need explicit instruction on when and how to make those adjustments.
When the product isn’t due for days, then the pre-writing stage can include thorough research on the topic and the completion of a graphic organizer. However, a standardized test presents limitations. Students have to be able to organize their ideas within minutes and begin drafting immediately.
When time isn’t a factor, writers think through their research, try out different ideas, and pour over the first draft. However, the on-demand writing scenario requires students to keep one eye on the clock. Their goal is the same—create a complete product, but they have less time to do it. Therefore, they cannot apply their typical writing process; they must make adjustments in order to finish before time runs out. The goal is to create the strongest product as efficiently as possible.
REVISING & EDITING
When there is no time limit, revision and editing are two separate steps in the writing process. They allow students to self-reflect and make major improvements—adding, deleting, changing, and rearranging content. With the luxury of time, writers can literally cut the draft apart and glue it back together. They can even acquire peer feedback.
However, these traditional revision and editing steps aren’t always a real-world option. With on-demand writing, students are assessed on the quality of their independent writing generated in a first-and-only draft. They do not have access to peers. They do not have time for major revisions. Therefore, they need to know how to adjust their writing process to fit these unique circumstances. This is when they need instruction on Check & Change.
Knowing and executing the steps of the traditional writing process is important. However, mastery of this standard is exhibited when students are able to adjust their writer habits to work faster or slower depending on the writing scenario. The ability to apply the writing process successfully within different situations is what makes students college and career-ready.