The Writing Process: Brainstorming

Keeping your Students Writing


Most teachers are aware of that fact that not every student learns the same way or at the same pace. This fact should also alert teachers that not all students strive for the same goals in school and some need a little more of a push than others. After doing some research on what the writing process entails for High Schoolers and the work that needs to come from both teachers and students to write to their best ability, I have discovered some tips and activities that are valuable to the writing process.

In school students are taught the steps to writing a work; pick the topic, brainstorm, rough draft, edit, and final draft. In order for students to produce a good piece of writing its important to give students a topic that is going to be able to engage them into what they are writing. Brainstorming is an important element to the writing process and as students get more comfortable with writing often a step that gets skipped. I know that I have fallen victim to this very thing, but what students may forget is that a good piece of writing comes from good planning. One of the sources that I found useful to my research was a website called This website is mostly centered on tasks and skill for students with learning disabilities but the points that they speak on can be used in general for all students.

Priming is talked about on the site as a way to introduce the writing topic to students. It says that priming provides students with background information and experience prior to starting to write, it “primes” the brain to anticipate features or ideas that will be forthcoming (The Writing Road). Examples such as a KWL chart or a picture to stimulate the topic can help bring enthusiasm to the writing topic. What type of priming to use should be based on the students in the classroom  and the response that they will get from the “priming”. The whole idea of priming is to ready the students for what they are going to be writing about.

Another tool that can be very useful for working up to writing is creating thought bubbles. It’s basically another way for writing down ideas to include in writing. You have students start with their main idea in a bubble in the center of the paper and from there they can branch off into subtopics and supporting details. This plan can help students to lay out all the thoughts that they have on the topic and organize them while writing them down. The idea behind “priming” and “thought bubbles” is to have students think before they write. It’s like the old saying “think before you speak” well in this case we want a written outcome.

I believe that every student has the ability to be a great writer.The types of activities working with the brainstorming portion of the writing process will help students become familiar first with what they are going to be writing about and allow them to eventually turn in a work that they are confident with and proud of. Creating an environment for writing where students have to get their ideas onto paper first creates a lasting routine for them in the future. That way when they leave our classroom you know that you have instilled good writing techniques with them.          

Follow the link to view an example of a Brainstorming chart!


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