Introducing the Writing Process

Following the writing process is a key component of teaching writing through the writer's workshop approach. Many of my students came to me without any knowledge of the writing process, so I made sure to expose them to it during the first week of school. An easy way to do that is with the One Sentence Writing Process.

Step 1: Pre-Write

Prepare in advance a variety of topics you could write about. Some ideas might include your favorite book, your pet, something you did over the summer, or something you are good at. Share these topics with your students through a think-aloud. Then give students time to turn and talk with their table groups about other topics they might be interested in writing about. Invite the table groups to share. Ask students to select a topic for the activity.

Step 2: Draft

Ask each student to write one sentence about their chosen topic. Write yours on chart paper as students write theirs in their writer's notebooks. (It's incredibly important that you write alongside your students.) Provide time for students to share, either in their table groups or whole class.

Step 3: Revise

Model revising your sentence using ARMS --  adding a word to clarify, removing something unnecessary, moving an idea or word, or substituting a better word. (I use ARMS throughout the year, so this is a good time to introduce it.) Allow students time to revise and time to share their revision.

Step 4: Edit

I teach students to use CUPS to edit - check for Capital letters, Usage, Punctuation, and Spelling. You can find a post on that here. You can also have them simply check for beginning capitalization, ending punctuation, and correct spelling for this first writing activity. Have students check with one other person to make sure there are no errors.

Step 5: Publish

Allow students to publish their wonderful sentence. I always gave my students a sentence strip (or two, if needed) for them to write their sentence on. I made them use pencil first, reread to make sure they wrote correctly, and then trace over with marker. Publish your sentence, too.

Finally, I posted the wonderful sentences in a display for others to see. This made a great first week bulletin board and set up the students to use the writing process for the rest of the year.

Is this something you see yourself using in your classroom? Do you have any other ideas for introducing the writing process? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. I LOVE this idea! What a great way to introduce the writing process! I am definitely going to do this with my kiddos next year! Love your blog by the way! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I absolutely love this idea for introducing the steps of the writing process!I'll be using this in September! Love the new blog design, too... clean, great colors, great fonts! It makes me want to redo my design. (I think I'm due!)

    Sally from Elementary Matters


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