About the Structures For Writing the First Draft by Robert A. Pauker

About the Structures For Writing the First Draft by Robert A. Pauker

This book explains The Structured Writing process by providing multiple annotated examples for literature, science, social studies and mathematics. In addition, the final section of this book demonstrates how to utilize The Structured Writing process to create a complete personal narrative essay.

The book is organized into these five parts.

Part 1 Structuring a Response to Literature

Samples of persuasive, expository, poem analysis, personal narrative, and letter paragraphs

Part 2 Structuring a Response to Science Text, Article or Experiment

Samples of persuasive, expository, article, personal narrative, and business letter paragraphs

Part 3 Structuring a Response to Social Studies Text, Article, Video or Research Question

Samples of persuasive, expository, chapter text, personal narrative, and historical letter paragraphs

Part 4 Structuring a Response to a Mathematical Process or a Decision Based Upon Mathematics

Samples of persuasive, mathematical principle, article, personal narrative, and business letter paragraphs

Part 5 Writing a Personal Narrative Essay

The annotated examples demonstrate how to apply each of the six steps of The Structured Writing process to a particular area of focus. The area of focus is the central theme or purpose of the paragraph. Analytical paragraph writing requires that this focus be specific in nature.

The logical sequence of each step of the process provides students with a critical thinking structure that makes producing in-depth paragraphs easy. The reader can begin his or her exploration in The Structured Writing process by reading the section of this book that is of most immediate interest. The teacher of science would most likely turn to Part 2 immediately; the teacher of mathematics would turn to Part 4 immediately.

On a personal note, as you read each section think about how you can incorporate annotated examples into your daily instruction.

Structures for Writing the First Draft

Structures for Writing the First Draft

Here are a few points to keep in mind when reading through the examples of this process.

1. Every paragraph is based upon a specific focus. The paragraph begins with “a main idea” and not “the main idea.” There are many possible main ideas on which the paragraph may center, as opposed to one right main idea.

2. When writing the paragraph, each part of the six-step analytical process relates to previous parts. For example, the sentences in part two relate to the main idea stated in part one; the response to part three is based on the response in part two. As a result, the rough draft paragraph is very logical.

3. Success with this method is dependent upon the student understanding of the topic and the focus. The old adage “garbage in and garbage out” applies. The teacher can look at the student’s sentences(s) for chapter one of this process and know immediately if the student comprehends the content or the topic.

When you teach the Structured Writing process, it is essential to spend time training students to become proficient with each step of the process.

Here are a few points to keep in mind.

1. Take the student through the process step-by-step. Let the student complete the first step before describing the second.

2. Give students time to share their responses and an opportunity to borrow ideas from each other during the training phase. Have students read responses including previously completed steps. For example, after completing step three of the process, a student will share his or her sentence for steps one, two, and three.

3. Work with the students to embellish the quality of their responses. With content writing, insist on appropriate terminology.

4. Push students toward in-depth sentences that complement previously stated language but do not repeat.

5. Require that rough draft sentences be longer, except when writing a personal narrative.

For example, I require that most rough draft sentences be, at least, twelve words; this encourages students to elaborate and to play with the inclusion of prepositional phrases or dependent clauses.

I hope you enjoy your experience with this process. I look forward to hearing how your students are doing, and I am happy to answer any questions as you put this process into play.

The Structured Writing process helps to write an essay

The Structured Writing process helps to write an essay

The Structured Writing Program only centers on the composition of first draft paragraphs. Once this initial draft is completed, students can apply relevant skills and utilize the flow of their inner voice to make modifications. My observations indicated that a well-designed rough draft paragraph made this second phase of revision much easier.

Finally, I recognized that rough draft paragraphs need to be focused on one specific concept or idea. Writing a paragraph that began as follows: “There are many causes of the American Revolution.” resulted in a relatively meaningless paragraph that only listed general ideas. A paragraph that began with a specific, centered main idea produced an analytical rough draft paragraph.

For example, “The Colonial leadership refused to comprise on the Stamp Act, even though the British showed a willingness to make modifications.”

Therefore, each main paragraph in the Structured Writing system is based upon one area of focus. The idea of centering each paragraph on an area of focus became crystallized in my mind in the mid-1980s when I was consulting to an insurance company. I was brought in to work with the company’s engineers who analyzed the condition and status for pieces of equipment that could cost millions of dollars. This analysis was necessary before the company could determine appropriate insurance rates. These engineers had to write clear reports stating problems and recommendations related to these expensive machines. Clients and the actuaries of the insurance company read these reports. I was brought in to train the engineers to write clearer reports that were both analytical
and logical.

What I found was training these engineers to create an area of focus for each paragraph of the report resulted in highly improved paragraphs. For example, one paragraph might center on the narrow focus of “pitting in the shell of the steam drum.” Consequently, the reader understood the singular purpose of the paragraph.

I hope you have fun with this six-step Structured Writing process as you teach students the value of clarity and analysis in their writing.

The Structured Writing process to create a personal narrative essay

The Structured Writing process to create a personal narrative essay

Our current world is dominated by a series of short messages communicated through emails, Facebook, Twitter, and the like. The students of today believe that the brevity of these messages is a positive. The types of communication that have grown out of technology reduce clarity and heighten assumption. These students often become indignant at the idea of explaining their point of view with depth.

I began the Structured Writing and Thinking Program in 1984. At that time, I had been a consultant for a few years and had an opportunity to observe how students approached writing. I found that a sizeable group of students had difficulty organizing their paragraph responses. This organization was complicated by the philosophy of some teachers that students should just put down their thoughts in any order.

Coupled with these observations, I, also, was influenced by the investigation I was conducting in 1986 and 1987 for my book on critical thinking from the American Association of School Administrators, entitled Teaching Thinking and Reasoning Skills. From this experience, I began to draw a few conclusions that influenced key components of the Structured Writing Program. These are two of the most pronounced conclusions.

First, I came to believe that a highly structured writing approach did not get in the way of creative thinking. In fact, I found that creative and critical thinking work hand in hand. As the Structured Writing and Thinking Program evolved, I began to observe that students who learned this six-step process could comfortably infuse their “individual voices” into the structure; this meant that their personal styles of expression could be incorporated into their paragraphs or into parts of their stories.

Second, I realized that certain students had a more difficult time of organizing their thoughts than others. When given a sequence of steps that facilitated this organization, these students could produce high-quality paragraphs. I began to understand that there is a marked difference between “how one writes” and “what one writes.” The structure minimizes the stress related to “how the student organizes the rough draft paragraph”; as a result, the student can devote his or her productive energies to “what is the content of my message.”