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From Start to Finish

Module Three

Pre-Writing Activities

and Warm Ups


During this workshop you will be given an opportunity to write with the computer in a manner that takes advantage of writing as process. You will try out each of the stages with a writing project of your own, but you will also stop and discuss with a partner or a small group how you might use these same approaches with your students.

The Assignment . . .

That Good Old Country Music

Many times students are asked by teachers to write about a topic, a question or an issue that the students have not chosen. This is also typical of writing tests. The students are expected to collect their own ideas and react to the teacher's assignment.

Today you will be asked to listen to a half dozen Country & Western songs to warm you up for the following question . . .

Some folks complain that Country & Western lyrics are too trite and too simple to offer any wisdom or help when it comes time to facing our own problems and life issues. Based on your own life experience and knowledge of the songs, to what extent have you found this complaint to be valid or invalid?

Your workshop leader will show you how to use Inspiration for this activity. (Instructions)

While the songs are playing, you will be typing as many words and phrases as come to mind. Your goal is to make as long a list as possible with as many items as possible. No sentences! Just let the words fly.

This is a wide open spaces, blue sky phase.

The goal is to generate and collect as many ideas, words and fragments as possible. Better to avoid sentences and paragraphs.

Good time to sketch and play and scribble. No performance pressures.

It is helpful to think of filling up a bead tray. We hold off stringing the beads until much later.

The teacher may provide stimulating activities to "warm up" the students or students may take responsibility for this stage, collecting ideas in a writing journal over time, for example.


Please do not move ahead to the next activity until asked to do so by your workshop leader.

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 These professional development modules were created by Jamie McKenzie. © 2000, J.McKenzie, all rights reserved. The modules may only be duplicated and served on school networks with permission of the author. For further information contact