The Writing Process: Where Does Collaboration Fit In?

This weeks’ class introduced and explored the 5 types of writing as part of the Collins program. I’m not sure I agree with all of its components, but I think the model provides an interesting framework for guiding students through the writing process. I appreciated how the facilitators guided us through each of the steps, even though it was on a smaller, more compressed, scale.

In thinking about most of the writing my students do during library, we seem to be in the phase 1 and 2 of the writing process. Occasionally we will have a project, typically in the older grades, that moves into stages 3-5. Part of me wonders how much this is due to our schedule and fixed amounts of time together. Would we be able to publish more level 5 writing if we met more frequently and/or for more extended periods of time? I’m not sure. I’d also be curious to know what types of writing they are doing in each of their different subjects.

As part of a 5th grade I-search project in library, I’m hoping to get to the 3rd, 4th and 5th stages of writing. Yet, for this particular project, I think I’m more interested in process than product. Does this also hold true for their writing? Is the process of making it through to step 5 valued more or less than the quality of the writing produced? This framework also has me thinking about my own writing. I’ve recently become involved in drafting an article that’s a work in progress, yet being written by librarians and scholars from across the country through Google Docs. It can be found at As adult learners, we are using the commenting, suggesting, and editing features of the tech tool to collaborate and communicate with one another. I wonder if the same process and tech tools could accelerate or ramp up student writing if used in a similar fashion?

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