The Writing Process

man using a laptop and writingThe Writing Process area of the Excelsior OWL is comprehensive and provides a scaffolded, step-by-step approach to the process of writing an essay, only this area focuses on essays that do not require sources. This area can be used to support essays like narrative essays or expository essays that require personal experiences and observations as evidence for development.

Just like with Research, students can be taken through each step of The Writing Process area, and teachers can structure a course or a portion of a course around each of these steps. In computer classrooms, teachers may have students complete one step on a particular day in class. In a traditional classroom, teachers may want to practice a “flipped” curriculum and have students complete a step at home and then come to class ready to practice with that step. Online courses can be structured around each step of the process as well, as students can complete process activities in modules leading up to a due date for an essay.

Because each step of The Writing Process also features a student sample video and a section called “Time to Write,” this area can easily be integrated into a curriculum and can supplement or replace textbooks that take students through the process of writing an essay.

Activity Ideas for The Writing Process

  • After students complete the “Overview” section, students can draft “Thinking about Your Assignment Notes” to encourage them to think about assignment requirements and the decisions they will make related to those requirements.
  • Students can then move to the “Prewriting Strategies” section. Teachers can have students try out several of the strategies or just one or two and use these strategies as a part of the writing
  • After completing the “Audience Awareness” section, teachers could have students complete activities related to audience. For example, having students write about the same topic to different audiences can help emphasize the changes writers make in relation to audience.
  • The section on “Voice” can support activities related to analysis of tone. Once students complete this section, teachers might provide students with examples of inappropriate voice and have them work on revisions using the “Tips” page.
  • Upon completing the section on “Introductions and Conclusions” and viewing the sample video casts, teachers may have students write their own rough drafts of their introductions and conclusions for their essays.
  • When students complete the activities related to thesis, teachers can use the interactive “Thesis Checklist” to have students submit a draft of their own thesis sentence for review. The checklist can be saved and e-mailed to the professor in online classes or printed for face-to-face classes.
  • Using the section on “Paragraphing” as a guide, students can draft paragraphs for their essays with a focus on clear topic sentences and good organization.
  • The “Essay Writing” section with the activities and student videos will help students organize and draft essays. Teachers should have students complete outlines and rough drafts at this stage.
  • The “Revising and Editing” section teaches students about the differences between revising and editing and how to use resources available to them. Teachers can use the peer review videos and forms to aid in the peer review process and use the writing center information if students have access to a writing center.
  • The revision and editing tips can be used to engage in revision and editing workshops in a face-to-face class or built into online discussions or assignments in an online class.

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