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Shared Writing in the Upper Elementary Classroom by Jackie Higgins

Shared writing was a practice I used frequently in my former first-grade classroom. Gathering my first graders on the rug near the easel, I scribed my students’ thoughts on chart paper as we shared the task of writing.

Currently, I’m a reading specialist in 3rd-5th grades. You might not expect to see shared writing in my classroom, but I’ve found it to be valuable with learners of all ages.

Improving Writing Fluency

In first grade, one purpose for shared writing is to build writing fluency.

First graders have a lot to say. When the teacher scribes the students' message, the students' ideas can flow freely without them having to stop and think about spelling or grammar.

In upper elementary grades, shared writing can be useful for building writing fluency as well.

Have you ever walked by a student who just can't get ideas down on paper? Shared writing can be a tool to get those ideas flowing!

Steps for using shared writing to teach writing craft:

  1. Identify the students who need help getting started.

  2. Pull those students in a small group and talk about a topic.

  3. Co-construct a message. The students provide the text orally while the teacher scribes.

  4. Frequently re-read the writing aloud to keep ideas flowing.