Intro to Writing

Do your students get stuck when they have to write a paragraph or an essay?

Then don’t do it. Don’t have them write.

I have a secret I’d like to share with you.

Your students do not have to write a paragraph or a whole essay every time they put pencil to paper. One of the best ways to unplug the fear of writing is to do some of the prepare-for-writing tasks but never write the whole paragraph or essay.

It’s called practice, as when members of a basketball team practice dribbling or passing. The team does not play a game every time they get together. They practice pieces of the game.

So let’s practice brainstorming and organizing ideas together.

intro to writing

Part 1: Narrow down a topic

Part 1 of Intro to Writing is practicing how to narrow down a topic. Happily, students will not have to write a whole essay on their narrowed-down topic; they’ll just get some practice in making a broad topic narrower and easier to handle. Click here to use that tutorial with your 5th – 12th-grade students. >>


Part 2: Brainstorm and Organize

When students tell me that they have ideas up here (and they point to their heads) but can’t get them here (and they extend their writing hands), I commiserate with them and then ask, “Did you brainstorm and organize your ideas before you tried to write?” The answer is always, “Well, no.” They did not do any of the essential pre-writing work to think and then organize their thoughts.

Part 2 of Intro to Writing walks your students through the before-you-write process so they’ll flex their brainstorming muscles. After they’ve brainstormed some ideas, they will organize their ideas. Part 2 has two tutorials: one for middle school students and one for teens. Each tutorial contains two free printables to make the tasks of brainstorming and organizing easier.

Access the middle school tutorial and free printables here. >>

Get the high school tutorial and free printables here. >>

Intro to Writing Series, Parts 3-7

Intro to Writing, Part 3 takes some of the pain out of outlines by using material your students are already very familiar with: restaurant categories and the way grocery stores are organized. Grab it and the free printables here. >>

Part 4 features a tutorial on writing effective paragraphs. In it you’ll find a chart, an example paragraph written from the chart, and an empty chart your students can use again and again for their own paragraph constructions. Find this dandy tutorial for middle school students here. And the tutorial for teens, with an endangered Porcupine Park, can be found here.

Part 5 is a tutorial on point orders, with a link to a video explaining point orders. You can get it here. >>

Part 6 teaches your students how to easily develop thesis statements (main ideas). >> Downloadable tutorial and exercises included.

Part 7 finishes off this series with free tutorials on introductions and conclusions. Separate tutorials for middle school and high school.


Copyright © 2017 by Sharon Watson