Category: Teach Writing

4 Stages to Teach Paragraph Writing in The Classroom

Writing is a productive skill that enables students to express their feelings, thoughts and knowledge. Students can improve their writing skill through practicing and repetition. their writing product should be monitored from the beginning of writing to the production of the final copy.

Here are the four essential stages to follow during the writing activity:

1. Pre-writing (Brainstorming and Organizing Ideas):

It’s the planning stage of writing during which you determine the topic and elicit all possible ideas to tackle when writing about this topic. You can write these ideas randomly on the board and you may use ideas’ map to show them all. Then, with the help of students you should organize the ideas telling students which idea to tackle first, second, etc. until the last one.

E.g. if the topic is “loyalty”, you can organize the ideas as follows:

  1. What loyalty means.
  2. Why it is important.
  3. Examples of loyalty.
  4. How to develop it.

2. Writing (Creating the First Draft):

In this stage, ask students to write the paragraph and tackle the ideas that were agreed upon in the first stage. Ask them just to focus on writing and expressing their feelings, thoughts and knowledge without fearing of making mistakes whether in spelling or in grammar. It is better here to specify certain time to finish writing and stick to it.

3. Revising (Sharing for Editing):

Students, in this stage, share their writing products with one another. Sharing here is a good way for students to recognize writing as an effective tool of communication. Students make discussions with each other about their writing. They make corrections and give feedback to each other. You may show a revising checklist for students to depend on when reviewing the writing pieces in this stage.

4. Re-writing (Producing the Final Copy):

In this stage, students get their writing products with corrections. Ask students to rewrite the paragraph making the corrections needed. At last, they should deliver you the final copy of their writing to grade and give them any other feedback later.


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See How Easily You Can Use Process Approach to Teaching Writing Inside the Classroom

There are two main approaches to teaching and practicing writing inside the classroom; process and product writing. In teaching writing we focus either on the product of the writing activity or on writing process itself. When concentrating on the product we are only interested in the aim of the writing task which is ultimately having a written text which is called the end product but when we focus on writing as a process, we pay more attention to the various stages that any piece of writing should go through. Simply, when teaching writing using process approach we aim at developing students’ skills that should be employed when they write such as drafting, editing, redrafting and finally publishing their work. In this approach we ask students to consider some procedures and spend time in some phases to get a good piece of work at last.

Process approach to writing consists of the following stages:

1. Brainstorming:

With the help of brainstorming, the writing task should start. In this stage students should think about the topic given. This may be done as whole-class activity or in groups so that students benefit from each other. In this stage the teacher elicits the ideas from students and writes each one on the board without eliminating any. The ideas can be put in linear order or in mind map.

2. Organizing stage:

Once the ideas are put randomly on the board, it is now the time to eliminate some and organize the rest of them. Ideas can be organized as main support, minor support and examples. While organizing, it is normal for students with the teacher to add or delete information. Actually keeping adding and deleting is the main characteristic of this approach until we reach the final product.

3. Writing the first draft:

After organizing the ideas, students start writing their essays. They may change the order or rearrange the main supports or the minor supports. It is a myth that people can write a perfect essay from the first time. There is always a mistake either in the organization or in the grammar or in the word/form choice. This leads us to the following stages; editing and proof reading.

The difference between editing and proof reading is that editing refers to “what you write” whereas proof-reading refers to “how to write”. This distinction is very important in process writing since we should focus on only one thing to correct at a time. It is not advised to correct the organization mistakes and the grammar mistakes at the same time. Students might get confused and not be able to correct all the mistakes. It is also hard for the teacher to correct everything at the same time.  It is logical to start dealing with the organization of the ideas and content (editing) since the sentences may change because of the feedback.

4. Editing:

As mentioned before editing deals with “what you write”. So in this stage the teacher gives the students feedback to look at the content and the organization of ideas. The teacher gives students some questions asking them to revise their essays and edit them to include the following basic features:

  1. Is there a main idea? Is it clear?
  2. Is the introduction interesting for the reader?
  3. Do the paragraphs develop naturally? Are they relevant to the main idea?
  4. Are the ideas supported well? Are there enough examples/details?
  5. Are the transitions chosen correctly and in the right place?
  6. Is there a conclusion? Does it have a summary?

Then students should edit their essays to add examples, support the main idea, add a summary and delete redundancy.

Once the content and the organization of ideas satisfy the students, then they write a second draft and make it ready for proof-reading.

5. Proof-reading:

As mentioned before proof-reading deals with “how you write”. In this stage the piece of writing is checked for any spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes. To be more precise the teacher should check and look for the following:

  1. Any sentence fragments and run-on sentences.
  2. References without pronouns.
  3. Redundancy of ideas.
  4. Spelling mistakes.
  5. Repetition of the same words.
  6. Punctuation mistakes.
  7. Wrong tense choice.
  8. Misused modifiers.
  9. Style inappropriate for the audience.

6. Publishing the final product:

The student should make the necessary changes in his/her piece of writing after receiving the proof-reading feedback and then write the essay again as the last version.

This means that the same essay needs to be written at least 3 times; first draft, second draft after editing and the final product after proof-reading.


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Simple Guide to Writing a Basic Essay – Part 2

According to Simple Guide to Writing a Basic Essay – Part 1, when deciding to write an essay we should consider three important things: subject, target reader(s) and purpose. Also, we recognized the main four types of essays and we became aware of the three components of every essay which are the introduction, the body and the conclusion. We have tackled only the introduction in part 1. Here are some information about the other two components.

2. The body of an essay:

The body of an essay is the part between the introduction and the conclusion. It contains as much as information about the subject of the essay. It contains one paragraph at least but you can write more paragraphs depending on the subject and the amount of information you have about it. The body should give examples, evidence and more details.

Each paragraph in the body should include the following sentences:

  • Topic sentence: to tell the reader what the paragraph is going to be about.
  • Detail sentence: to tell the reader more about the subject. Each paragraph can have many detail sentences which should include examples and evidence.
  • Concluding sentence: to wrap up what have been already said in the paragraph and to prepare the readers for the next paragraph.

3. The end of an essay – The conclusion:

Just as every essay has a clear beginning, it should have a clear ending, too. It is the last paragraph which is known as the conclusion and which makes sound finish to the essay.

The concluding paragraph typically has two parts:

1. The summary statement: which restates the thesis sentence in a fresh way to reinforce the main idea of the essay.

It is very important to start your concluding paragraph with a summary statement because it helps the reader to recall the ideas you have expressed in the essay.

To write a good summary statement, you should look again at the thesis sentence and try to rephrase it without repeating the key words and phrases in the thesis sentence because you don’t want your summary statement to sound repetitive and boring. Using the thesaurus is a good way to find more interesting words with the same meaning.

Here is an example of a thesis sentence and a summary statement in an essay on “Toyota Corolla”

Thesis sentence: Many people prefer buying “Toyota Corolla” because of its competitive price, fuel economy, and high resale value.

Summary statement: reasonable price, low miles per gallon, and the attractive resale value make the popularity of “Toyota Corolla” in today’s market.

2. The clincher: which is the final thought that should create a good and lasting impression on the reader. It is also referred as the “closer” as it is your last opportunity to connect with the reader. To make a good clincher, you should return to the technique you used when writing the “hook” in the introduction. Here is a list of clinchers:

  • Finish the story you told at the beginning.
  • Ask a controversial question.
  • Use another quotation related to the opener one.
  • Make a prediction or recommendation based on the facts you presented.

Revise your essay:

Revision makes you consider which ideas to add or delete and which words or phrases to change to make your essay sound better. You should make sure that every word, sentence and paragraph makes sense to the reader. Here are three areas you should examine to improve the content and style of your essay:

  1. Clarity: is the essay clearly and logically written.
  2. Unity: do all the paragraphs relate to the central idea of the essay.
  3. Coherence: do the ideas flow smoothly.

Proof read your essay:

Whereas revision focuses on improving the content of the essay. Proof reading deals with recognizing and correcting errors. These errors can relate to capitalization, punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Last-minute tips:

  • If you have time, set your essay aside for a while and then come back to it later. You will notice ways to make your essay better, and you will see more errors to correct.
  • Read the essay aloud to yourself. Often you will hear errors that you may not catch while reading silently.
  • Have a friend to read your essay and give you his/her feedback about errors, confusing parts and suggestions for improvement.
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