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 pre-writing

Please refer to CESD’s Essential Outcomes work if you are using the previous Alberta Curriculum (Grade 7+).

Here is the New Alberta ELAL Curriculum, from the New Learn Alberta website, laid out like a scope and sequence.

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