How does writing fit into your schedule? Are you able to share the experience with your students? Shared writing is one part of the balanced literacy
Why to Do Shared Writing
Shared writing is an opportunity to scaffold learning to help build strong and confident writers. It also creates a mentor text that students get to participate in writing that they can also refer back to if needed. There are so many benefits to shared writing in the classroom!
- It makes it possible for all students to actively participate in writing, even those who may not be working on level.
- Allows our English Language Learners (or ESL students) to practice oral storytelling without the added stress of writing in a newer language.
- The expert writer, the teacher, gets to model conventional spelling, correct punctuation, and how to incorporate new vocabulary.
- Students get to take what they observed or shared in shared writing and practice it during independent writing in writer’s workshop.
What Is Shared Writing?
Shared writing is when the students collaborate on ideas for a shared piece of writing, and the teacher acts as a scribe using correct spelling and punctuation. This writing is a good example to be displayed in the classroom for students to reference. This block of time is usually 10-15 minutes.
Shared writing is often confused with interactive writing, but they are different. The main difference is that in shared writing, the teacher writes. In interactive writing, the students use the pen with teacher assistance. You can check out more about interactive writing in this post HERE.
Materials for Shared Writing
You could also do this on an interactive whiteboard, too.
How To Do Shared Writing
1. Start by letting students know they will be helping you brainstorm ideas for a new piece of writing. It should be something that’s a shared experience for the whole class- something funny that happened, a science experiment, an announcement, daily news, a letter to a school staff member, etc.
2. Let students partner talk to discuss ideas for the story. As students are discussing, try to listen in to get an idea of what their conversations are sounding like. You can coach partners if the discussion needs to be redirected or bring the level of discussion up to a higher level.
3. Pick a topic to write based off of an idea you heard. I just usually say, “I heard one pair talking about __. That sounds fun to write about today.” You could also have student input to help you narrow down on a topic first. Once you’ve chosen it, begin writing based on what the students are suggesting.
4. Invite students to collaborate on what should be written through the piece. Ask questions like, “What should we add here?” “What would make this part more interesting?” “What might make this sound better?” “How should the story end?” Give students time to turn and talk to a partner to discuss throughout the writing process. Listen in again and coach any partners that need guidance. Add more to the story/piece sentence by sentence.
6. Reread and revise as needed. Ask yourself and students questions like, “How can we add a detail about __ to be more clear?” “Is there something missing here we need to include to make more sense to the reader?”
The overall gist is to ask students for ideas, let them partner talk, coach as needed, and write down their ideas in conventional sentences and spelling. And repeat!
Tips for Shared Writing
- Try to incorporate as many students’ ideas as possible so they all feel valued. You could even make a list at the beginning of the week and then work through them throughout the week.
- Be mindful of what your writers need. For example, you may focus your thinking aloud on the writing process and decision making more than conventions, spelling, etc.
- I love how Regie Routman put this: “ Don’t hesitate to put the language that students may be struggling to express “into their ears.” This is part of our role in helping to shape and guide the writing.”
- Shared writing pieces make great displays for students to refer back to as needed and to spark writing ideas.
Remember, the goal of shared writing is to help students write better, think deeper about their writing, and see a full picture of the complete writing process.