Prewriting: A Quick Friday Reflection

Friday’s are fun. Of course, I’m slightly alluding to a TGIF kind of feeling, but I also teach the same writing lesson 3 times in a row to all my classes on Friday. During the rest of the week, these classes usually alternate days, and last 100 minutes. On Friday, however, it’s 50 minutes…bam, bam, bam. What’s fun — definitely in a geeky kind of way — is that it gives me time to do speedy reflections-on-action from which I develop quick action plans to use in the class that directly follows.

During last Friday’s lesson, the plan was for the participants to start brainstorming ideas for their paragraph assignment due in a few weeks. I took a bit of this class time to briefly bring their attention to the 5-step-writing-process. During this lesson, they personally dealt with step 1: prewriting.

We brainstormed a few prewriting techniques (mind mapping, brainstorm discussion, freewriting…), and then they were off. The deal was to discuss their topic with a partner, and then freewrite for the remainder of the class. Easy enough, right? Well, I noticed a few glitches that I needed to clean up.

Below are the reflections I wrote between classes during my 10 minute breaks:

1st class: 9am-9:50 – Confused faces. Some slow to write. Forgot to CCQ the brainstorming process. What exactly should they talk about? Talk about the writing process, all the topics…? Why are they doing this? What does brainstorming look like? Try to elicit from the next class: Listen and and ask questions. Help the other generate ideas.

2nd class: 10am-10:50 – Talked about what brainstorming looks like. They answered as I had hoped. Gave a 5 minute limit per teacher for brainstorming. Added more time if needed. Gave them examples of what they might write about for each topic. I don’t think I did that with the 1st class.

3rd class:   This lesson was much smoother, and they went into the prewriting techniques more easily. I did everything I did in the 2nd class. A lot more writing seemed to happen in this class.

And there you have it! Reflection doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. It can happen during class, between classes or after classes. All I know is if I hadn’t taken the time to reflect on the 1st class, the 3rd class would have suffered. Reflection saves the day again.

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9 thoughts on “Prewriting: A Quick Friday Reflection

  1. When I first qualified as a district nurse, a third nursing qualification I had ‘supervision’ using reflective practice and the Gibbs cycle. It was very useful

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    1. Ah, Gibbs cycle. I’ve only heard of it once before. I’m used to Kolb. Yes, I think it will be better to email. I’ll send you a message soon. Now I have to focus on finalizing my lesson plans for tomorrow, and also publishing my latest post. Chat soon!

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  2. I like the quick successive reflections: it can be so useful to have another similar learning experience straight after the first.
    I use reflective practice at times in my nursing, but I haven’t used it in writing. Maybe that’s a way forward? Thank you

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    1. Sarah, I really appreciate your input. In my research on reflective practice, I have found that a lot of the material out there relates to nursing instead of teaching. I always thought this was interesting, and I was curious about how nurses use reflective practice in their work, and also how they are taught about the process. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about your reflective practice?

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        1. That would be great Sarah! Thank you for staying on top of this. If you don’t mind, please send it over, and let’s stay in touch over email. Take care!

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    2. That is strange that it came up at the top of the page. I’m replying to your original comment in case you didn’t catch the reply I wrote to your last comment:

      Thank you for being available. I think you are going to quench my thirst for knowing more on this topic. So here’s my first question: How did you learn about reflective practice as it relates to your profession? Was it something intuitive, or were you explicitly taught this practice as part of your nursing courses?

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