A Strategy for More Productive Prewriting
In this first step, brainstorm ideas to write about. Use a blank sheet of paper or a simple bubble map, and jot down any and all ideas that come to mind. Once you have a good selection of ideas, rule out the ones that have strayed too far from the general topic. Also rule out ideas that you don’t know enough about. From the choices that you have left, pick your favorite. The goal here is to choose a specific topic that will be interesting for your reader, but also easy for you to write about.
Stay in Focus
Now that you have a specific topic to write about, it’s time to use a graphic organizer such as a new bubble map or an outline to complete the traditional prewriting. Write the topic that you chose in the center of your bubble map or at the top of your outline, and begin listing things that you want to say about it. The goal this time is to come up with interesting content for your paper.
Use this step for a multi-paragraph essay or a longer report. Sort your ideas from step two and organize them into groups – one group for each paragraph that you will write or one group for each section of a longer report. Then, as needed, create a new, smaller bubble map for each of these sub-topics. Or if you are using an outline, indent and add more details to each main section of your outline. The goal of this final step is to include plenty of details, examples, and descriptions to fill out a good paper.
For some ready-to-use prewriting ideas, see this PowerPoint presentation at my Teachers Pay Teachers store, Classroom in the Middle.