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Literacy Partners

The Process Share — How To Get Started

An important book we revisit often is, Don’t Forget to Share. Inside the book, the author, Leah Mermelstein, covers four types of shares — the content share, craft share, progress share, and the process share.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore the process share.

The Process Share — What Is It?

A process share is a share where the teacher poses a question that pertains to the writing process, and kids explore it.

Here are some examples:

  • What can you do if you don’t know how to spell a word?
  • What do you do when you don’t know what to write about?
  • What do you do if you feel like you’re done writing, but writing time isn’t over yet?

Before we get into this valuable practice, let’s make sure we have the logistics all sorted out.

Time: In the book, you’ll learn that this share or “share conversation” needs 10-15 minutes. Keep in mind that this is different from what you’ve learned about teaching shares. Maybe you’ve heard that you should give it 2-5 minutes so you can have a quick closure at the end of the workshop. I think you’ll enjoy the idea of a 10-15 minute share conversation and give it a try!

Here are some tips to get started so you can get value out of this important part of the workshop:

  • set a timer
  • ask a student to remind you
  • include it in your plan book

Room Arrangement: The book suggests the kids return to the gathering or meeting area and sit in a circle to create a dialogue.

Set-Up: For this type of share, you may want to have a few mentor texts. Students can also bring their own writing to the circle.

Steps to a Process Share:

  1. After gathering the students in a circle, pose a question about a part of the writing process, you feel students need to become more independent with.
  2. The teacher says something like, “Today, I was so proud to see you all go off and get started on your writing. I noticed lots of writers using the charts around the room to help with different strategies. That’s amazing! Many of you, after some time, had a problem. You were finished, and you weren’t sure what to do next. Let’s try to solve this problem together. In writing workshop, we’re going to write until the music stops, (you know how I play classical music to help us get focused?) and I call you all together to work with partners or gather here in the circle for the share. Who wants to start us off? What can we do to help ourselves write for a longer time?”
  3. Let different students share some ideas and allow a few voices to speak up.
  4. If what they say needs clarification, say, “Tell me more about what you mean,” or try to rephrase what you think they’re trying to say.
  5. Now wrap up the conversation by reiterating the big ideas or solutions you talked about. “We had three different ideas today about what you can do if you feel like you’re finished. You can reread your writing and then add more words. You can look at a chart to see what else you can add. Or, you can even start a new piece of writing. Take a moment and talk to the person next to you about what YOU will try the next time you have this problem.”

    If you like, you could even develop a chart that includes these ideas and strategies so kids can revisit it later. You can also develop a list of future teaching ideas that came out of this conversation. In this case, it could be: adding dialogue, internal thinking, setting details, feelings. These are all ways they could add more writing or elaborate in their writing.

The best times to do a process share. 

There are a few times that work really well for a process share. The best times to do this type of share are:

  • At the beginning of the school year to create community or establish routines
  • To reinforce what kids learned from the mini-lesson
  • Whenever you notice confusion about a piece of the writing process

Which kids benefit the most from a process share? 

We at Literacy Partners really enjoy the process share because it’s helpful for all students. It will especially benefit kids who need support with the writing process.

Possible Process Share Ideas

Here are some questions to help students become more independent:

  • What did you do today when you didn’t know how to spell a word?
  • What can you do if you want to talk to the teacher, but they’re talking with a student?

To help students with stamina:

  • How did it feel to write for a long time?
  • What did you do to help yourself write for a longer time today?

To help students with revision and editing

  • Did anyone reread today while writing? How did that help you?
  • Some of you stayed with one piece of writing for a longer time — how did you do that?

We think you’re going to make some fascinating discoveries with these deeper conversations inside the process share. If you have questions about implementing this or need some support getting started, get in touch! 

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