I was thrown off balance when a Head of Middle School showed me a neatly laminated 3′ x 2′ poster that may or may not have been titled “The Writing Process” and asked me for my thoughts. The reason I forget is significant: the poster was forgettable- not the least bit sticky. Well I lied, I remember the green border and the green tiger separated with its own palatial blank white territory. They had nothing to do with the writing process.

He said the school was standardizing the writing process and would be hanging these posters in all the classrooms. I’m not sure who designed the poster, but I don’t think it was a writer. My mind streamed with improvements that could be made-

Problems with the Poster

  • There are not always  5 steps (brainstorm, outline, draft, edit, final composition) in the writing process
  • People use different processes
  • The process is not linear and neat like a list
  • Lacked relevant and inspiring visuals
  • Font all the same style and color, nothing pops
  • A poster does not teach a person to write
  • It wasn’t student-centered and created

Improvements

  • Create a project for students, perhaps a unit “Writing Processes”
  • Students research writing processes, e.g., writing processes used by favorite or notable author; writing processes used by self and friends; improvements they would make, and present to class and perhaps school
  • Create a board in the classroom for Writing Tools and Processes, students can post and organize ideas
  • Address the writing processes they used for this project and how they figured out how to do it, e.g., trial and error, experience, tips, Internet, books, teacher, friends, parents
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