Teching Out the Novice Writers

Writing expectations in the state of Kentucky has certainly changed with the implementation of Common Core and the passing of portfolios.  Regardless of the charge from the state, we are called to teach students to be fluent in the art of writing.

In this article by Adam Renfro, several great writing apps and resources are shared. 

Mr. Renfro lays out several ideas and apps for:

1.  Brainstorming–The idea here is to get students to think before they write. This is essential for the novice writer. All students need to see that writing is an extension of thinking. We know they can think. We know they can write. We just have to help them connect the two and realize that they don’t happen simultaneously very well.

2.  Researching–Ideas for resources for research

3.  Stripping away the clutter–Students are familiar with MS Word, Google Docs, Apple’s Pages, and different blogging tools, and those are great apps. They have been great for years and get better with each new release. They have a flaw for the novice writer, tough. It’s a flaw that trips up not just the emerging writer, but also the more seasoned writers, too. Those apps are filled with a multitude of formatting and editing tools that distract writers when they should be in the composition mode.

All of that is distraction. And each editor adds more and more with each new release. This is called “feature creep,” and these features are a major disruption during the creative process. These processes need to happen during “post-creation” but most writers tend to tinker with them when their brains should be focused on composition.

4. Content Checking–Now that the composition part is down, have students run their writing through a plagiarism detector. This is essential in research projects. Make this a teachable moment where they can correct their mistakes before they turn in their final copies.

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