Independent Writing

Independent Writing/Collecting Entries

After the mini lesson, students work in their Writer's Notebook  or quick write section to collect entries that may later become longer pieces of writing for publication. I have them use the following prompts if they are having difficulty coming up with their own.  Writing time varies in my class but usually last for about 25 or more minutes. During writing time  I  conference and use this conference chart with individual students. Students are also allowed to conference with peers.

Once every two weeks I have students choose an entry from their territories or independent writing [in notebooks] to make into "draft form." They choose a form of writing or use the prepared forms I have stapled to my bulletin board. It is these pieces of writing that will go through the writing process of editing and revising so that they can be published and shared with others. 

All entries in the Writer's Notebook do not become published prices of writing. The one chosen by the student is proofread and edited and handed in for marking.

Sharing With a Wrap Up Exercise

Every day, or sometimes every second day, at the end of writing workshop , I bring students back together for a 10 minute group share and reflection. I have students sign up to share on sheets left on my desk for this purpose. I have an 'author's stool, by my desk for this purpose. During this "your turn session" students might ask for help or get feedback from peers who are willing to offer advice. The student might also want to share part of an entry of which he or she is especially proud.

During many group shares, each student gets a turn to share a small part of an entry.


 A Review of  Independent writing

Quick Writes
The quick write is a very basic writing strategy. It involves little thinking on the part of the student, but is valued for its brainstorming properties.  Simply have students write about their recess, home life, etc. We give students a set amount of time for responding. (usually between one to ten minutes) During wrap-up  teachers may ask if anyone feels like sharing what they wrote.

A Second type of Independent Writing involves students working on various Forms of Writing

  • Through the many forms of writing students will learn to develop writing fluency by practicing writing skills. These can be used as a way to assess student written expression, sentence fluency and all of the six traits of writing.
  • The primary purpose of writing is communication. Students will follow the writing process which  includes prewriting, composing, revising, editing, and publishing. There are many kinds of writing such as expository, narrative, descriptive, imaginative, and persuasive.
  • Writing adheres to different forms each having its own particular style and set of rules. Students learn to develop their voice through the various forms and perhaps hone a style for each form.

Notebooks: A third type of Independent writing
  • Students use a  writer's notebook for observing the world around them, by recording interesting conversations they've heard during the day, keeping quote collections, collecting great metaphors from books they're reading, or simply listening to family members local colloquialisms. 
  • For example, if you hear something and think, "That would be a great title for a novel," that's something that should be written into your writer's notebook. Do not trust your memory to keep these kinds of thoughts. Thoughts are here one minute and soon gone, like clouds floating by that cannot be captured.
  • Write everything down, regardless of how nonsensical it seems to you at the time. Develop your writing Territories and when called upon to make one into a longer piece you will decide on the form it takes. Ten years from now it may inspire you with an idea for a writing project you can't now foresee
  • See Ralph Fletcher: The master at explaining what teens should do.