+ Modeling Behavior for Writing Activities

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Tips from Regie Routman’sWriting Essentials: Raising Expectations and Results while Simplifying Teaching:”

Modeling expected behavior saves valuable time in the long run.  Show what the targeted behavior looks and sounds like; this is your “demonstration.”  You can create a chart listing the things students will be observing.

Model the behavior with a student; this is a “shared demonstration.”   Your next step might be two or more students trying out the behavior for the rest of the class (“guided practice“).  You will scaffold, teaching as you see a need, and asking “What did you notice?”

Then, the class is ready for their “independent practice.”

Model These Writing Behaviors

  • Writing on every other line, so changes can be made.
  • Writing on only one side of the paper, so cutting and pasting and rearrangement is possible.
  • Dating everything, to show writing history and progress.
  • Writing legibly, so reading of drafts is easy.
  • Spelling high-frequency words correctly and saying “use your best invented spelling for other words,” to raise expectations for spelling and save editing time.
  • Keeping all writing records, for example writing. history,  suggestions on sticky notes, writing plans.
  • Modeling on the same paper your students will use (size, lines, spacing); you might project this on transparencies.

Eliminate Distractions

  • Plan for a peaceful writing time.
  • Have all pencil sharpening done before you begin, with a ready supply of extras.
  • Make sure students know procedures for bathroom breaks, getting supplies, requesting help; model all this.
  • Teachers should advocate for fewer school-day interruptions such as PA announcements.

Help Students Monitor Their Work


  • How did we do with this?
  • What went well?
  • What do we still need to work on?How could we have done better?
  • What will we do differently tomorrow?

Source: Regie Routman’s “Writing Essentials: Raising Expectations and Results While Simplifying Teaching,” Heinemann, 2008.  ISBN 0-325-00601-6 (paper).  http://www.heinemann.com [Contains a DVD of 8 writing conferences showing the author in action.)

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021  or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com


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