Writing Strategies

Discovery Writing

For a writing strategy, I would like to try Discovery Writing, explained by Donald M. Murray, in an effort to show students that writing is thinking. I would be careful with this strategy, however, because not all students might have enough background knowledge and self discipline, as Murray obviously has, to simply launch themselves into writing.

I am wary of the notion of aimless free-writing for adolescents, but I do want to promote the idea of teaching a love for words and occasionally letting the language lead thinking.

I would use the notecards, as Murray suggests, but I would also give students a small idea to help them begin writing. I might play the Fleetwood Mac song “Storms” by Stevie Nicks as the students enter the room to begin class. On the board I would write the lines “Never have I been a blue calm sea/ I have always been a storm.”

I would ask the students to begin writing by filling in the blanks: Never have I been … I have always been…. I would ask them to write, to continue to fill the cards and rework their words, trying to follow their own ideas, letting the words lead them.