Brief Explanation

Activities to help generate or organize ideas for writing before they write the first draft (S. Graham & D. Perin, 2007).

  • Everything that you do before students begin to draft their writing such as exposing students to a wide variety of good quality mentor texts.
  • Providing opportunities for conversation between adults and students to generate ideas.

Clearly Identified Key Outcomes

Use your programs of study for curriculum outcomes related to print awareness. Please refer to the CESD’s Essential Outcomes work.
Here is a 
K-9 Scope & Sequence of Reading Outcomes from the English Language Arts curriculum.

Purposeful Instructional Strategies

  • Pre-writing strategies (not in any order):
    • Think/pair/share
    • Oral conversations
    • Question
    • Free writing
    • List ideas
    • Clustering ideas
    • Create a topic list with input from home
    • Use pictures to generate ideas/interest
    • Develop a writing outline
  • Teacher modelling
  • Mentor texts – identifying good techniques
  • Explicit teaching strategies for planning (indenting, skipping lines, where to start)
  • Build background knowledge
  • Brainstorming ideas – planning
  • Graphic organizers
  • Build vocabulary
  • Co-construction of text with teacher – I write, we write, you write
  • Think/talkalouds
  • Peer planning conversations
  • Classroom displays – word walls, vocabulary, organizational structures such as Venn diagrams, etc.
  • Students keep idea lists of writing ideas/topics/images
  • Show students exemplars of student writing—
  • For second language writing, increase time for scaffolding:
    • Pre-teaching vocabulary, explicitly teaching sentence structure

Personalization of Learning

  • Offer a variety of choices for students during the planning phase – drawing, graphic organizers, verbal planning, use of technology tools, etc.
  • Working in a group during pre-writing
  • Significantly more time during the planning phase
  • Specifically building background knowledge and vocabulary
  • Visual supports for vocabulary development