What? When? How? Why?

The Writing Process

A WebQuest for High School Communication Arts Students

Designed by Mrs. A. Tynes


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits |


Have you ever wondered why English teachers require so many rules for writing? After all, writing is just sharing ideas, right? Here are some other pressing questions that you may have had in your English classes: What are graphic organizers? Why do I have to edit? HOW many drafts do I have to write?

In this webquest, you are going to learn the answers to all of those questions and more. In teacher-assigned teams, you will each become an expert in one of the following areas: Brainstorming, Drafting, Editing, Revising, and Publishing. As experts, you will lead your team through your first essay of the year. You will fill out a graphic organizer to take notes on the research you do individually. Based on your new understanding of the writing process from the research in this webquest, your team will compose an e-mail letter to Mrs. Wells, Communication Arts chairperson. Your letter will inform her of the benefits of using the writing process for quality writing. Upon receipt of her response, you will participate in a Writing Blog with other teams in Mrs. Tynes' English II classes to brainstorm ideas for your first informative essay. Also, as a part of this unit, you and your first quarter partner will work together to edit and revise your writing. Published copies of your writing will be submitted to the Advanced English II classes for an opportunity to see your writing in the first issue of PawPrintz Online, John F. Hodge Online Newspaper.

NOTE: Modifications will be made as needed for learners who may struggle with reading comprehension, or any step of the webquest process.

Task aaaaa

Your task is to compose an informative essay that follows the writing process. In order to accomplish this, there are several levels of knowledge and skill that you must first attain. Each team member will be an expert in one of the following Writing Process areas: Brainstorming, Drafting, Editing, Revising, and Publishing. (If you feel like you or your team is getting overwhelmed with the process, use the following checklist to guide you through the remainder of this webquest- Survival Guide.)

1) The team e-mail letter (to Mrs. Wells) must contain the following: (use the following handout to help you prepare your letter- Brainstorming)

  • 3-5 paragraphs (including an introductory parargraph)
  • Complete sentences (NO run-ons or fragments)
  • 5 benefits of using the Writing Process
  • MLA formatting for a formal letter (see the Little Brown Handbook for an example, online or in class)
  • Appropriate tone for a formal letter (reference on "tone" / don't be afraid to ask questions after you take notes)

2) Your informative essay must contain:

  • graphic organizer (sample: Mrs. Tynes' web)
  • first draft (may include a minimum of 3 paragraphs, hand-written or typed)
  • thesis statement
  • evidence of editing / revising
  • published (final) draft (typed, 5 paragraphs)
  • MLA formatting (headers, citation, bibliography)


To accomplish this task you will be involved in the following process.

1) I will assign you to a team of five. Learn a little bit about each other partipating in an activity called: Three Truths and a Lie.

2) You must choose your roles. The choices include: Brainstorming, Drafting, Editing, Revising, and Publishing.

3) Now, using the web-based resources below, each member will become an expert on his/her topic by discovering facts and skills important to that topic. Use this information to fill out your Note-taking T-chart. You should have a minimum of 2 observations from each link. You can find these resources by clicking on the questions below. (Even if the reading is too difficult, you should be able to pick out something that you think is valuable.) Expert groups will meet so that you understand your notes before you teach your teams.

aaaaaBRAINSTORMING ~ What are graphic organizers? What is freewriting? What is clustering? What is outlining? How do I deal with writer's block? [BONUS: You may use the program Inspirations on the computers in Mrs. Tynes' room with some instruction from her. Check it out!]

aaaaaDRAFTING ~ What is the purpose of my writing? What is a thesis statement? Why use transitions? How is an introductory paragraph composed? How do I write a conclusion paragraph? What does a five-paragraph essay look like?

aaaaaEDITING ~ Why is vocabulary important to composing a text? What is plaigerism? What are the benefits of editing? How do I use proofreading symbols to edit a text?

aaaaaREVISING ~ What are the Deadly Sins of Writing? How can the computer be a writing assistant? How do I write with style and variety? How do I avoid immature writing? How do I improve short, choppy sentences? What are some examples of transition words to use in my writing? How can examples add more interest to my writing?

aaaaaPUBLISHING ~ What does a narrative or descriptive essay look like? What are the principles of organization in composing a text? What does a Comparison-Contrast Essay look like? What elements are required in a formal letter (see pg. 54 +)?

4) Make sure that each member of your team understands what, when, how, and why each of the five steps of the Writing Process is important for quality writing. Use the K-W-L-Q chart (from the Brainstorming experts) to show your understanding.

5) In teams, each expert needs to write one reason why his/her step is important to quality writing. The experts in charge of the following will guide a specific part of the e-mail letter:

aaaaBrainstorming - each member coming up with at least one support of their step for the letter;

aaaaDrafting - the important elements of a formal letter;

aaaaEditing - using spell and grammar check on St. James Schools e-mail;

aaaaRevising - printing the e-mail and participating in a student-teacher conference before sending;

aaaaPublishing - supervise the Writing Process of the e-mail letter and send to Mrs. Wells.

6) Upon receipt of your e-mail response from Mrs. Wells, your team will partipate in the Writing Blog set up through the English II moodle. Each member must submit at least one idea or response for the informative essay that follows. Use this blog to help you brainstorm ideas for your 5-paragraph informative essay.

7) Begin writing your informative essay, showing evidence of each step of the Writing Process. If you have trouble throughout your essay writing, seek help from your team first, moodle second, and then visit with Mrs. Tynes.

8) When you are ready to publish your writing (see due dates on Mrs. Tynes' webpage), turn in evidence of all parts of the Writing Process (see the Task above). If your essay is selected for publication in PawPrintz Online, you will receive an e-mail from one of the Advanced English II students or Mrs. Tynes.

Evaluation aaaaa

Click on the links below for rubrics on the team e-mail letter to Mrs. Wells and the Informative Essay.

E-mail Letter Rubric

Informative Essay Rubric

Conclusion aa

Congratulations! Now you have seen how using the Writing Process can produce a quality composition. As time-consuming as these five steps seem to be right now, the more you use them, the more quickly they will come to you. Furthermore, you can guarentee that your writing will continue to improve, and perhaps most importantly, you will earn high grades on your writing in every class where an essay is required. Refer back to this webquest any time you need a refresher on any of the Steps of the Writing Process.

Credits & References


Writing Resources:



Based on a template from The WebQuest Page