Let the Ideas Flow: Prewriting and Tech Tools

Instructional Strategies: 

Prewriting frees the inner writer. Commonly considered the first step in the writing process (prewriting, drafting, and reviewing), it is that “protected” time for generating ideas without the pressure of producing a draft right away. The University of Kansas Writing Center website has a wonderful tag line: “Write Here, Right Now.” This is wonderful advice for prewriting.

Their article, ‘Prewriting Strategies,’ offers five useful prewriting strategies teachers and students will find valuable: 

  • Brainstorming: Generate ideas, group items that seem connected, expand by adding more ideas
  • Clustering (mindmapping): Begin with a subject in center of page, create an outward web or map of related ideas, continue to expand, show relationships among ideas
  • Free writing: Write non-stop and quickly, refrain from editing, review when finished, highlight important ideas
  • Looping: Free write for 5-10 minutes (using process above), select a highlighted idea for the topic of next free write, repeat the process to drill down into ideas
  • Asking the six journalists questions: Explore topics by answering who, what, where, why, when, and how questions

Your students can use a range of technology tools when carrying out these strategies. ‘Educational Technology and Mobile Learning’ suggests tools under the heading of writing prompts, digital story telling, and brainstorming (including mind mapping, and concept mapping).


Digital Story Telling

Graphic Organizers

Within PoweUp What Works, explore the Instructional Strategy Guide focusing on Prewriting. Contained within its multimedia materials, you will find evidence-based practices, suggestions for technology tools, and terrific resources. To continue with the writing process, also check out the Drafting, Reviewing, and Presenting Instructional Strategy Guides. 

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