This week my students turned in their second narrative. And with that, I wanted them to discern the difference between and reflect on their process and product.
Process matters. Especially for young writers.
That said, most checklists and rubrics presented to students consider the product, without serious consideration of the process that went into the making of it.
I believe we do our young writers a great disservice if we do not honor the steps that go into the production of a piece of writing.
Today I presented my kiddos with a process chart designed to take them through what they did as they created. Along with the standard process of gathering, planning, drafting, and revision, I asked students to reflect on their work ethic and use of technology.
To be a writer, one must commit time. In most cases, it takes more than workshop’s 40-60 minutes a day. Just as we ask students to read outside the classroom, students must take time outside of class to produce writing they care about. Be it thinking, notebooking, or another part of the process, writing takes time and commitment. The students who produced products they were proud of, took time.
My writers have various types of technology available to them. Notebooks, paper, pens, and electronics. This piece of writing was my students first attempt to draft and revise electronically. The majority were liberated by it. A handful felt they did better work with pen and paper. That’s a great reflection; something students have realized and can act on. What tool is best for me now? What will produce my best work? Many are new to keyboarding and thinking on a computer. While I think they are more likely to reach higher levels of revision if they write electronically, if they are not able to get the draft out, revision is a non-issue. Better to stick with what feels best for now. My nine-year-old writers will get there.
How we approach, the writing process is as important as what we produce.
This year, I want my kiddos to realize what process works for them.
What conditions do they need to do their best work?
Where are they on their writing journey?
As the year progresses, I am hoping my students will grow along a writing process progression towards:
more entries in their notebooks
developed plans that guide their work
revision made accessible and actionable through technology
writing outside the workshop
the realization that the quality of their writing process has a direct impact on the product.