The Writing Process: Step 4 "Articulation"
So far this blog series has examined the Writing Process beginning with Step 1 "Ideas, " Step 2 "The Plan," and Step 3 "Support." An important component of Language Arts learning in your homeschool is recognizing this truth.
Writing is a sequential process, and mixing the steps up or leaving some out makes the finished product less impressive.
Articulation is the step where a writer nails down a strong thesis statement. Many times have I heard teenagers groan and weep when I say the words, "thesis statement" to them! Why is this often such a stressful thing, especially for reluctant writers?
Usually, it's because their thought process hasn't been leading them toward their thesis statement, so they're trying to create something out of thin air. If they've put the time into Ideas, The Plan and Support, then those three steps have already caused their thoughts to complete the bulk of their thesis statement creation.
Step 1 means they have a topic and they've chatted about it.
Step 2 means they have chosen a voice with which to write about the topic.
Step 3 means they have found some universally accepted statements to use to hold their piece together, and have jotted them on scrap paper.
Articulation is simply this:
SO WHAT ARE YOU ACTUALLY SAYING HERE?
Here's my new vlog to help explain Step 4 "Articulation" using the perennial garden example I used in Step 3:
For a different example, let's go back to the descriptive piece from Step 1 about a favorite place to be alone (my backyard hammock after dinner), and let's choose the "action" voice for our plan.
My support might include the following:
- people GO to their alone-spots;
- people have things they like to DO by themselves for particular reasons;
- people often lose track of TIME when they are happily alone;
- the mosquitoes can sometimes really INTERFERE with my alone time in my hammock;
- eventually, everyone has to RETURN to the real world after a time away.
With that information already gathered into the front of my brain, notes jotted on a piece of scrap paper in front of me, it's easy to see potential thesis statements emerge. If a thesis statement simply sums up "What are you actually saying here?" then any of these might work nicely:
1. When evening falls, a book is the only company I need as I stride to our backyard hammock for an hour of time to myself.
2. I cannot be held responsible for any injuries my siblings might sustain if they block my path to the backyard hammock when dinner is over and I need a break from the world.
3. No jury in the land would convict me if I murdered the mosquitoes trying to steal the joy from my hammock time; my hammock is mine alone and I will not share it, or my blood, with these pests.
Look at each example carefully, and you'll see two things:
- the thesis statement is not all that far removed from the chatting, voice and support work I'd already done;
- the thesis statement easily lends itself to a SPECIFIC focus (#1 - my book and I; #2 - leaving my family behind so I can have a break; #3 - protecting my alone-time from anything that would ruin it).
A thesis statement pulled out of thin air is a hard thing to conjure.
A thesis statement pulled from the thoughts produced by an idea, a plan, and some support is not difficult at all!
A good writing curriculum includes essays, research writing, poetry and creative writing.
7 Sisters offers the Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced Guides to High School Writing that include all of these components.
Click here for more information on your solution for high school writing.
Do you use scrap paper to help your students (and yourself) remember that the first words penned are not the final product in writing?