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The Writing Clinic

By Patrick Lashmar April 14, 2015

The writing clinic provides the teacher and the class with numerous opportunities to assess cooperatively specific pieces of writing. It can be used at the editing stage and at the sharing stage of the writing process.

Pupils volunteer to write samples of the writing on transparencies, chart paper, or the chalkboard. These samples of writing are then shared and may be discussed by the teacher and the pupils. Contributors can be given the opportunity to remain anonymous.

The teacher’s role in conducting a writing clinic is to:

  • create a positive, constructive environment
  • develop the attitude that all writers exhibit strengths as well as weaknesses
  • establish a set of ground rules to facilitate the process
Lead the pupils to uncover and discuss the writing strengths found in the samples - questions could relate to specific expectations being taught or could be of a more general nature such as:
  • What part of this selection do you like? Why?
  • What words do you find most interesting? Why?
  • How does this selection make you feel?
  • What have you learned by reading this selection?
Lead the pupils to discover and discuss any weaknesses found in samples and encourage the students to suggest ways of improving these by asking questions that relate to specific expectations or which are more general in nature such as:
  • Are there any parts of this selection that could be improved? Which ones? How?
  • Are any of the sentences unclear? How might that be rewritten to be made more clear?
  • Has the author left anything out? What should be added?
  • Can you think of a better way of saying ... ?
  • Have you thought about ... ?
  • What if ... ?

Try involving your young authors in writing clinics. These cooperative revising and editing experiences can go a long way towards helping students revise and edit on their own. I'll post some links below to grade specific resources you can use to try a Writing Clinic in your classroom today!

Use the Writing Clinic with Portfolios:

Use the Writing Clinic with Personal StudentBOOKS:

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