Interactive Writing, Grades 2-5

Seth Rigel, Section B, 9/10/15


"Interactive writing is a dynamic instructional method during which the teacher and students work together to construct a meaningful text while discussing the details of the writing process." (pulled directly from text)

The Process

The lessons involve guided writing instruction by the "expert writer" or the teacher. The process starts with a shared experience that all the students can relate to or know something about. The next part is the prewrite where students and teacher consider the form and function of the writing. (audience, overall message and relevance) Then comes the compose phase where the teacher starts to compile student ideas, give suggestions on vocabulary and re works sentences to best fit the writing piece. The next phase is share the pen. The writing is done on sentence strips and the teacher can pass along the pen or marker to students during key parts of instruction to write letters, letter clusters, whole words, and even sentences. The next part is review. The teacher will revisit a few key instructional ideas that were covered in the piece they composed and talk about the hows and whys. Lastly, during the extend phase, the class continues to use this piece as an instructional tool. The teacher may make a compilation of interactive writing pieces or even hang the piece on the wall to refer to later.

Getting Started

There are seven steps described in the article that you need to prepare for. You need to start by teaching the routines of interactive writing first so students can participate effectively. It is necessary to consider carefully the time of day to deliver the lesson. Next is to create a comfortable space near writing resources. You need to use highly visible materials. Prepare to make thoughtful teaching decisions like being prepared and knowing students' writing, knowing what they struggle with and where to incorporate them in the lesson. The last two are keep all students engaged and be patient with yourself. The perfect interactive writing lesson will not immediately happen.

Why Does it Work?

The instructional strategies used in interactive writing are rooted in proven language and literacy teaching techniques. Interactive writing offers high level of support for the students while simultaneously allowing them interaction throughout the whole process. It is also something you can integrate almost anywhere. You can use it during social studies and science as well to reflect on concepts learned or even elaborate on them.

Food for thought.

How might you go about incorporating this in your own classroom? How would you differentiate instruction for students at different levels of achievement? What kind of accommodations would you need to make for ESL or ELL students?

What Does Seth Think?

I think this article was incredibly informative and this was an incredibly interesting teaching strategy. This was also very far removed from how I learned the writing process. I think that this would be an incredibly effective method to develop the building blocks of writing with younger students and to get the ball rolling on what writing should look like.
Roth, Kate, and Joan Dabrowski. "EXTENDING INTERACTIVE WRITING INTO GRADES 2–5." The Reading Teacher 68.1 (2014): 33-44. Print.