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OBJECTIVE: Students will get involved in the writing process Macro Skill: To learn the first steps to plan writing Micro Skills: To learn about the elements that influence writing Time: 2 hrs. ELT PRE-ACTIVITY 1. Writing is a process, which starts in the moment of thinking about a subject and finishes with the final draft, while compliting it, the writer considers alternatives and making choices. Understanding writing as a multistage process that allows to work efficiently, concentraiting on one activity at a time rather than trying to juggle all of the facets of a writing project simultaneously.

Planing and shaping



editing and proofreading

Visualizing the writing process Match the steps of the writing process to their definitions: An overview of the writing process Planning: To gather ideas and think about a focus. Shaping: To consider ways to organize the material. Drafting: To write ideas in sentences and paragraphs.

Revising: To evaluate the draft and, based on own decisions, rewriting it by adding, cutting, replacing, moving- and often totally recasting material. Editing: to check the technical correctness of the grammar, spelling, punctuation and mechanics. Proofreading: to read the final copy for typing errors or handwriting legibility. The writing process doesn’t have only only one way to write. When starting, it’s important to consider each step involved in this process. The experience gained lets to suit each new situation by adapting the process in the best way it works for the writer. 2. Elements that influence each writing situation: Topic: the idea to write about. Purpose: the intention of writing. Audience: the people who will read. Special requirements: to consider time and length to conclude the paper. The topic refers to all the aspects of the writing situation. A free or assigned topic consider the limitations of academic writing, when it’s assigned, the witer must not go off the topic. Whatever the topic be related to, any idea, refence or knowledge can support the points of the topic. The purpose in uiversity writing is usually to in inform or to persuade. A specific sense of the purpose is reflected in the efectiveness of writing. For example, the purpose is informative if the author is writing about the dangers of smoking. Opposite to this, the purpose is persuasive if the writing is an argument against smoking. The writer must choose either an informative or persuasive purpose based on the topic when the assigments do not stipulate the writing purpose. The audience, for college or university writing is often primarily, though not exclusively the instructor. Some writing assigments name a specialized audience, which means the reders have more technical knowlege than does the general reading public. According to the audience, the student has to write to their level, the audience can be the class students or external readers.

Special requirements, they are the time allotted for the assigment, the expected length of the writing and all the limitations. Any question about the assigment must be clarified. 3. Choosing a topic for writing As writers say that the quality of their writing depends on the way they handle a topic. When there is not option for making choices about the topic, so the student just follow specific instructions sucha as “Explain how oxygen is absorbed from the lungs,” or s/he may be asked to describe the view from the classroom window. The job with these assigments is to do precisely what is asked and not roam the topic. a) Selecting a topic on student’s own Sometimes students are asked to select a topic on their own, however, do not all subjects are suitable for academic writing. Academic writing topic’s reflect their ability to think ideas through, with interesting points to communicate, avoithing things tahat don’t have so mucho to express. The issues and concepts should demostrate that students can use specific, concrete details to support what they want to say. b) Narrowing an assigned topic By narrowing the subject the writing process will be clearer and easier. For this, the topic is divided in subdivitions with concrate ideas.. “What separetes most good writing from bad is the writer’s ability to move back and forth between general statements and specific details”. 4. Plan It considers the elements that influence writing and then classifies the subject in possible topics according to the writing situation, example: Subject Writing situation

Music first-year composition class informative purpose instructor as audience 500 words, one week

Possible topics

the moods music creates classical music of the Renaissance country and western music as big business

WHILE ACTIVITY Now complete the two subjects with: Mythology or Cities Exercices: Subject Writing situation

_____________ sociology course persuasive purpose students and then instructor as audience 500 to 700 words, one week

Possible topics

comforts of city living discomforts of city living why city planning is important

Subject Writing situation

______________ humanities course informative purpose instructor as audience, someone who is a specialist in mythology 1000 word, two weeks

Possible topics

the purpose of myths Comparison of Ojibway and Roman myths explaining why seasons change

5. Gathering ideas for writing Techniques for gathering ideas, sometimes called prewriting strategies or invention techniques, can to discover how much the student know about the topic before deciding to write about it. Ways to gather ideas for writing Keeping an idea book Writing in a journal Free writing Brainstorming Using the journalist’s questions Mapping Incubating Students sometimes worry about that they have nothing to write about. Often, however, students know far more than they give themselves credit for. The challenge is to uncover what is there but

seems not to be. As they use various techniques for gathering ideas to find out which work best for them and their style of thinking. No one technique of generating ideas always works for all topics. If one method does not provide enough useful material, another must be considered. Also, even if one strategy produces some good material, another one can provide additional possibilities. Keeping an idea book and writing in a journal Student’s ease with writing will grow as they develop the habits of mind that typify writers. Professional writers are always on the lookout for ideas to write about and for details to develop their ideas. They listen, watch, talk with people, and generally keep their minds open. For this reason, many writers always carry an idea book-a pocketsize notebook-to jot down ideas that spring to mind. Good ideas can melt. Many writers, both amateur and professional, write in a journal. It gives the chance to have a “conversation on paper” with themselves. The content and tone can be as personal and informal as the wish. The journal is not like a diary for listing, it’s for the thoughts, which emerge by writing, discovering how to draw on reading and observations, the writers can respont to quotations, react to films or plays, or think through their opinions, beliefs and tastes. Keeping a journal can help in three forms: 1. Writing every day provides an habit of productivity 2. A journal instils the habit of close observation and thinking 3. A journal serves as an excellent source of ideas when is required to write in response to an assigment

Freewriting Writing down whatever comens into mind without stopping to worry about whether the ideas are good or the spelling is correct. Free writing musn’t be stopped or reviewed at the moment.


It means listening all the ideas that come to mind associated with a topic. The ideas can be listed as words, phrases, or even random senteces. Brainstorming has two steps, first to make a list, and then to try to find patterns in the list and ways to group the ideas intocategories. Put away the the items that do not fit into groups. The student can explore questions about the topic, such as What is it? What is it the same as? How is it different’ Why or how does it happen? How is it done? What caused it or results from it? What does it look, smell sound, feel, or taste like? Using the journalist’s questions Journalist’s questions ask Who? What? When? Why? Where? How? Ask in these questions forces the students to approach a topic from several differen perspective. FEEDBACK Exercise: ask yourself the journalist’s questions about one of these subjects: watching soap operas, eating junj food or shopping. Then think of an interesting topic not on this list and ask the journalist’s questions about that topic. Mapping It also is known as clustering or webbing, is much like brainstorming, but it is more visual and less linear. Many writers find that mapping fees them to think more creatively by associating ideas more easily. To map, students can start with their topic circled in the middle os a sheet of unlined paper. Next they draw a line radiating out from the centre and label it with the name of a major subdivision of the topic. It’s circled and from that circle they radiate out to more specific subdivisions. When it’s finished with one major subdivision of the subject, to go back to the centre and start again with another major division. The process is continued until students run out ideas. This technique can be used the same way as using a subject tree to lay out the logical relationships of ideas to each other. But many writers prefer to use mapping for discovering ideas already known but not recommended, students better apply the techniques as they suit them.

Using incubation

When students allow their ideas to incubate, they give time to grow and develop. Incubation works especially well when students need to solve a problem in their writing (for example, if the material is too thin and needs expansion, if the material covers too much and needs pruning or if connections among their ideas are not clear for the reader). Time is a key element for successful incubation. Students have to arrange their time to think, to let their minds to wander, and then to come back and focus on the writing. Sometimes incubating an idea overnight permits sleep to help them discover or clarify an idea. A helpful strategy can be to turn attention to simething entirely different from their writing problem. Concentrating very hard on that distinc matter so that the conscious mind is totally distracted from the writing problem. After a while, relaxing and guiding mind back is useful to the writing problem learners want to solve. POSTACTIVITY: Select the best answer: 1. Calls for you to write your ideas in sentences and paragraphs: a) editing

b) drafting

c) shaping

2. It is the intention of writing: a) purpose

b) topic


3. in this way the student lists all the ideas and explores questions about the topic: a) incubating)


c) brainstorming

4. It’s when students need to solve a problem in their writing: a) incubating


c) brainstorming

5. This technique can be used in the same way as using a subject tree. a) freewriting b) mapping c) writing ina journal ANSWERS WHILE ACTIVITY 1.Cities, 2. Mythology

REFERENCES Quitman, Troyka, et al. (1996). Handbook for Writers. Prentice Hall. Canada. IMAGES vermeer/i/lady-writing.jpg

Adapted by Raúl García Báez

The writing process  

Activities to develop writing in English

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