A Marriage Waiting to Happen:
Computers and Process Writing

By Julie M. Wood, Ed.D.

© 2000, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)


"When I write on the computer my ideas get bigger."

--Doug, 2nd grader (quoted in Zenzie, 1997)


1. Introduction

The process writing movement, let by educators such as Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins, Nancie Atwell, and Donald Murray, has been a driving force in the way teachers approach writing instruction for nearly 20 years. During the same 20-year period, computers have evolved in astonishing ways; complex mainframes have morphed into malleable educational tools that, in many schools, have become part of the fabric of classroom life. Current estimates indicate that, on average, the ratio of children to computers in an average classroom is 4.1 to 1 in 2000, and that access to the vast resources of the Internet has become widely available.

Edward B. Fiske (1992) was one of the first to draw attention to the potential synergy between the writing process approach and the use of technology. He observed,

Computers are the most important new technology for writing instruction since the invention of the pencil--maybe even more so. Learning to write is essentially self-editing. The craft requires writing and rewriting. For little children, the biggest obstacle to learning to write is the physical act of moving the pencil across the paper, but computers make this unnecessary. (p. 157)

In this article I aim to offer suggestions for teachers who are interested in using computers in ways that enhance, perhaps even transform, process writing. As Fiske pointed out, the two are a natural fit. My own teaching experience over the past several years bears this out. I've found that children who find letter formation difficult often feel liberated when typing their ideas using a keyboard. I have also learned that reluctant writers can be inspired by kid-friendly software products such as Kid Pix or the Amazing Writing Machine. Not only do such tools make writing more engaging, but often children's final products are more expressive, longer, better written, and look more professional than those created with pencil and paper: this in turn motivates students to put forth their best effort. I've drawn the same conclusion from my research with innovative, primary-level teachers. Some of these teachers, whose comments I will include later, speak passionately about the ways in which computers have helped their children become more proficient writers within a process writing framework.

And then there's what I've learned by interviewing children themselves. Often when I ask students, especially those who struggle with literacy, what it means to be a good writer, they reply that good writers know when to use capital letters and periods; that good writers are good spellers. As opposed to this focus on the mechanics of writing, I believe that children need to learn to perceive themselves as real writers with interesting ideas to share with others. Computers can help them do this. And it's not the bells and whistles of a particular piece of software that will help them the most; it's learning to think about new tools and how they can use them, in Papert's (1993) terms, as "objects to think with." That is, when children take control of the computer, and use it to scaffold their learning, their thinking often takes a leap forward. They learn to use this highly-flexible tool in ways that help them develop as writers in the truest sense.

2. The Writing Process Movement

In the early 1980s many teachers were introduced to powerful new ideas about how best to approach the teaching of writing. The philosophy at the heart of the process writing movement was simple, but the implications for practice were profound.

Essentially the key proposition was this: why not teach children to write the way real writers write? Real writers (at least the lucky ones!) choose topics that interest them deeply. Real writers tend to brainstorm and noodle around, or prewrite, before they set pen to paper to compose their ideas. And rather than dashing off a rough draft and sending it to their editor, real writers refine their work in a series of drafts; they think about their intended audience, share their work with others, invite feedback, and give every word and sentence the same careful attention as a painter or sculptor gives to their work. Writers ask themselves: What works? What doesn't? Which words are vague, misleading, or worse yet-completely unnecessary? As Richard Marius (1991), former Director of the Expository Writing Program at Harvard, reminds us, it's the revision phase that demands a writer's complete dedication. He observes,

Battle-hardened professionals do not see a first draft as a final draft. They expect the first draft to be like a blob of clay that a skilled potter flings onto a whirling potter's wheel. Potential beauty resides in the blob; it can be brought out by the skilled and delicate touch of the potter's hand. (p. 14)

Then, once the "potter's hand" has performed its craft, real writers launch their work for the world to see. They publish

The notion that children could benefit from emulating the process used by real writers came as a revelation for many classroom teachers. I recall my own "aha moment" as vividly as I remember the first Apollo moon landing. I was the reading specialist in a small town not too distant from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), the epicenter of the process writing movement. Donald Graves, one of the most charismatic professors at UNH, conducted research in my school, as he did in many elementary schools in New Hampshire. He introduced my colleagues and me to many of the radical ideas about children and writing that were beginning to take shape.

Rather than writing discrete, one-shot compositions, our students now had writing folders in which they collected their works over time. Rather than answering contrived questions in workbooks, our students now had conferences with their teacher to discuss their works in progress. They participated in authors' circles where they could float their ideas like trial balloons before their peers and receive feedback. Then eventually our students began publishing their works. Typically they attached their finished pieces to the cinderblock walls in our school's corridors and displayed their bound books in the library.

And so it was that the process writing movement began to take hold in many schools in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, challenging the methods of teaching writing that had come before. Although this movement is not without its critics, process writing has proven to be one of the most enduring innovations in education introduced in recent decades.

In the next section I offer suggestions for enhancing the traditional process writing method by using new technologies. My ideas grew out of my own experiences as a teacher and researcher. They are meant to be a jumping off point for other teachers, whether they are computer neophytes, cyberjocks, or somewhere in between.

3. Stage by Stage and Byte by Byte

The good news is that technology advocates have a rich conceptual framework to build upon; the existing literature about process writing is classroom-based, well-researched, and inspiring to read. I recommend in particular The Art of Writing, by Lucy Calkins, Writing: Teachers and Children at Work, and A Fresh Look at Writing, by Donald Graves, and Nancie Atwell's In the Middle. These books are brimming with anecdotes, children's writing samples, and classroom strategies for adapting and sustaining a writers' workshop model.

In the following sections I briefly summarize each stage of the writing process. Those who want to read more can click on the hyperlinks to be transported to related passages from the books described above. Then I offer suggestions for taking each stage of the writing process one step further by adding computers and other technologies (such as cameras and an educational television program) to the equation.

3a. Creating a Literary Climate

First, as Atwell (1991) points out, teachers need to establish a literary community in their classrooms in which children often discuss shared books and their favorite authors in concert with developing their skills as writers. Underlying this literary climate is the belief, supported by over twenty years of research, that reading and writing are two sides of the same coin. When we write, we more fully understand what we read; when we read we push ahead our ability to write.

Within this literary community, Atwell maintains, a successful teacher treats reading and writing as reciprocal processes. He or she:

  1. expects that every student will read, write, and find satisfaction in literacy;
  2. organizes a predictable environment;
  3. makes regular, sustained time in class for reading and writing;
  4. and allows choices from day one of topic, genre, pacing, and audience. (pp. 140-1)

Atwell provides vivid portraits of teachers who meet these goals through print-based methods, such as book discussion groups and writers' workshops.

Technology can be used to help create the type of literary classroom community that Atwell describes. For example, many teachers have supplemented their reading programs with high-quality educational television shows, such as Reading Rainbow. In each episode, viewers not only hear a story read aloud, but also take a virtual field trip to a destination related to a book's theme, such as the rain forest. In addition, every episode ends with a children's book segment in which children offer enthusiastic reviews of theme-related books.

Similarly, books on tape can also contribute to your students' repertoire of stories, particularly for children who are reading below grade level. If, for example, a struggling reader longs to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but can't access the text independently, he can read along with an audio recording of the book. Many other books on tape are available, from Dr. Seuss to Newbury Award winners.

3b. Brainstorming a Topic and Prewriting

Graves (1994) advises us to demonstrate to children how events from their everyday lives can become grist for the writing mill. As teachers, we can model this process, he explains, by selecting events from our own lives that students might find interesting. Additionally, Graves notes, we should help children learn to "listen to themselves." This news may come as a surprise to children who are frequently admonished by adults to "listen to me!" (p. 57).

How can computers and other tools help children get started as writers? Some children have had success recording their ideas into a tape recorder as a way to rehearse before sitting down to write. Then, tape recorder in hand, they listen to their ideas and decide which ones to incorporate into their compositions.

Children can also get started on writing by creating art using computers. Vygotsky (1978) reminds us that children's drawings tap into their narrative impulses. The talk that follows naturally from their illustrations can be translated into written pieces. Using art as an entry point for writing can be especially effective for beginning writers. They can dictate their stories to their teacher to supplement their artwork and still feel a sense of ownership over the unified text and illustration that is the final product.

Software with built-in art tools, such as Kid Pix or Apple Works, can help both beginning and more advanced children create artwork and write about it all in one document. Alternatively, children can scan in images that hold special meaning and use them as the centerpiece of their writing. Images might include a photograph from a family album, a postcard, or some other artifact that evokes a time or place.

If you have access to cameras (digital or traditional) or a budget that will allow you to buy several disposable cameras, send small groups of children off on a photographic "shoot." Encourage them to capture images of their world that they can then transform into a photo essay. If you used a digital camera or have a scanner, the photo essay can be elegantly formatted using computer software. In fact, most developers, such as Kodak, can convert traditional photographs to digital format and provide them on a disk or CD for a small additional fee.

Older children might enjoy creating graphic organizers using Inspiration, software that makes it easy to design and manipulate representations of ideas. An added plus is that with a single mouse click, Inspiration can convert a graphic organizer into a traditional outline. (To see example diagrams created with Inspiration, see http://www.inspiration.com/diagrams/ed/ediagram.html.)

3c. Researching a Topic

After these prewriting activities, followed up with a writing conference, children will be ready to engage in research for their compositions.

For children who are interested in writing in the content areas, computers can offer a wealth of information. For example CD-ROMs such as National Geographic's Picture Atlas of the World, offer rich resources--maps, facts, video clips--about countries all over world. A collection of similar content area CD-ROMs can easily multiply the number of sources children can turn to for their research.

Similarly, the Internet vastly increases the number of resources children can turn to when exploring nonfiction topics. Although much of the content on the Web may seem sophisticated at first glance, it's not all written for adults. Careful investigations using kid-friendly search engines such as Yahooligans, Ask Jeeves for Kids, and Searchopolis can lead to appropriate content, often written by children themselves, on topics from aardvarks to zeppelins.

For a vivid description of teaching children to research and write about nonfiction topics, see Graves's conversations with young children from his book A Fresh Look at Writing. Although Graves's illustrations predate the proliferation of computers in classrooms, it's not hard to imagine Graves describing similar practices in 2000, simply with an extended repertoire of sources for student research.

3d. Composing a Draft

When children sit down to write their reports or stories, often the notion of elaborating their ideas does not come automatically or easily. And cries of "I'm done!" when only a few minutes into the writing process, can discourage even the most enthusiastic teacher. How can we help children fully express their ideas rather than merely writing one or two sentences? Lucy Calkins, in The Art of Writing, urges us to expect more from children. That is, if teachers set aside large enough chunks of time during each school day for writing, they'll be able to meet with children individually and help them elaborate on their written pieces. As Calkins explains,

The most important thing I can suggest is that we do not abbreviate the writing workshop so that it lasts only as long as our children's attention for writing lasts. One of our major goals at this point is to encourage children to say more, to sustain their work longer, to approach a text expecting it to be more detailed, and all of this means that we need to give children more time for writing than they know what to do with. (1994, p. 115)

Sometimes children will be better prepared to write more extended texts if they have opportunities to organize their ideas. Writers' notebooks offer one means to this end. Calkins (1994), in fact, recommends using notebooks for all sorts of writing purposes--to capture drawings and ideas for stories, to revise current work, and so on. Such notebooks can go a long way toward organizing what might otherwise be odd bits and pieces into a cohesive whole.

In addition to notebooks, word processing software can lend an organizational framework to children's works in progress. That is, children can keep personalized electronic folders to accomplish the same goal. They can give their documents titles such as "ideas for stories," "cool facts to write about," and "writing right now." Then children can save their work either on individual disks or on a network workspace. Once their compositions and illustrations have been saved and organized, children will be ready to share them with their teachers, parents, and classmates.

For a close-up view of children and the composing process, see this excerpt from Graves's book, Writing: Teachers and Children at Work (1983).

3e. Sharing and Peer Editing

An "Author's chair" is a special seat a child sits in to share his or her work. The idea is to have children take turns sitting in the author's chair to read their work and respond to their classmates' questions and suggestions. The term was coined in the classroom of Ellen Blackburn Karelitz during a research project conducted by Hansen and Graves (1983).

Peer editing can be part of the sharing process. Traditionally children make comments such as "I'd like to know more about the part when. . ." and "the ending makes me wonder what ever happened about. . ." For a close-up view of the peer conferencing process, see this excerpt from Lucy Calkins's book, Lessons from a Child: On the Teaching and Learning of Writing.

What can computers add to the peer editing process? Pairs of children can collaborate at a computer, embedding their comments into their partner's document in a contrasting color or by using a different font. Then, rather than recopying their writing on paper, children can edit their work electronically. Older students may enjoy using the professional editing capabilities of programs such as Microsoft Word: for example, they can use features such as electronic "post-its" to add suggestions, and can "track changes" as they edit their work.

When children use computers as tools for peer editing, teachers have another way to assess children's development as writers. As Calkins (1983) reminds us, part of being a good writer is being able to give valuable feedback to other writers. Consider this description from Calkins' book about a 9-year old writer named Susie. Calkins observes,

As I studied transcripts from the peer conferences, it seemed that Susie, more than most children, tended to tell writers about the problems she saw in their drafts. Instead of asking leading questions to solve the dilemma, she just raised the issue, leaving the writer to solve it later on. When Tricia wrote a first-person narrative about herself as a four-year-old, Susie reminded her that her main character would have to think like a four-year-old. "Remember," she warned, "they don't have as much worries as we older people do." (p. 123)

In Susie's own writing, Calkins observes that after a year of participating in peer conferences, Susie has learned to internalize much of the feedback her peers have offered her. She has developed a knack for being able to switch back and forth from writer to reader to peer reviewer; in each role she is able to draw upon the lessons learned from other roles. Peer editing allows her to integrate the different types of knowledge she is gaining about herself as a reader and as a writer (Calkins, 1983).

You can take this idea one step further by organizing students' critiques into electronic portfolios. As Deirdre Kelly recommends in Classroom Connect (2000), teachers can create "slide shows" of student work by using products such as Kid Pix, PowerPoint, or HyperStudio. Kelly advises, ". . . your students should be able to construct the framework that will house their work. Then, with your assistance you can start to incorporate the actual work samples" (p. 18). Then children's artwork and writing can be scanned and imported into an appropriate "slot." In this way a collection of student critiques will document each student's progress over time.

3f. Establishing an Individual Voice

"Voice" comes into play when writers establish their own unique style. Graves (1994) asserts that voice is the "driving force" that underlies every step of the writing process. "Voice is the imprint of ourselves on our writing" (p. 81). To read more about Graves' interactions with children and how he helps them cultivate their own voices, see this excerpt from Writing: Teachers and Children at Work (1983).

Although studies that address the use of voice when writing with new technologies are scant, I am persuaded that often when children engage in the give and take of email exchanges, they practice the art of imprinting themselves on their writing. Consider the following message presented here without corrections. It is from a research study I conducted in the Reading Lab at Harvard University last year. In this project, students posted their pieces of writing on the Lab's web site, with an email link that solicited feedback from readers all over the world. I was interested in analyzing the types of email exchanges that children engaged in related to their writing projects.

When reading individual students' email correspondences, I was struck by the variety of approaches they used to establish their own voices. In some cases, they were doing this with people they had never met!

The following message is from 12-year-old Medo[1] to Jenny, who emailed him after reading his autobiography on the Lab's web site. Jenny referred to details he had written about his pet dog and guinea pig. Here, with help from his Lab teacher, he writes back to Jenny,

Dear Jenny,

No, my dog and guinea pig are not really friends. They basically hate each other. Molly terrorizes Chip and would really like to eat him. When he is in his cage she slides in to it with her front paws and scares him so much he has to ron back in to his wooden house.

I do have to walk Molly, but not Chip. I have to walk Molly when I get home from school. Some times I am really tired and I don't want to walk her. So it gets to be a pain when my friends are over. When my friends come over they have to walk her with me. That's not a problem when my friend that has a dog named Zoxie comes over. We walk the dogs together to a field to run around [emphasis mine].

Notice the informal conversation-like quality of Medo's writing. Of his pets' relationship he states, "they basically hate each other." He then uses the sophisticated word "terrorizes" and launches into an anecdote about how the dog frightens the guinea pig. He also confides in the reader that sometimes it's "a pain" to have a dog like Molly because you have to walk her even when you're tired. From this message we gain insights about Medo's life and how he might interact if we were to have a conversation with him in person.

Over the past five or so years, many teachers have paved the way for their students to engage in many different types of email exchanges. Some involve book discussions, cultural exchanges, or practice in writing in a language other than English. Many web sites facilitate the process by serving as "clearinghouses" for teachers who want to connect with each other. To get started, visit Pitsco's Keypals or the Curriculum Resources page maintained by Marshall Elementary School.

3g. The Revision Process

Despite the critical role of revisions in the craft of writing, the idea of working on the same piece of writing over and over can be a hard sell for reluctant writers, many of whom can barely suppress their glee when abandoning a first draft. As noted previously, word processors can take the tedium out of revising student work. Laura Parker, a second grade teacher in the Boston area, sees a benefit in the fact that children can edit their own work on the computer. She describes,

It's easier to correct [a child's composition] when it's on the computer. It looks OK when you've corrected it--when you erase, it doesn't look messy and it comes out looking really nice when you're done. I think there's a lot to be said for that! (Wood, 1999, p. 148).

Still, the revision phase involves hard work. You may decide to have pairs, or small groups of students work together at computers and insert changes directly into text. Another tactic would be to enlist older children as "computer buddies" or "writing coaches" to help scaffold the revision process.

Word processing software also offers many built-in tools, such as a spell checker, thesaurus, and dictionary, which can be a boon to the revision process. Special needs students can also benefit from using some of the adaptive software products that are currently available. For example, Co-Writer helps children with fine motor problems by predicting the next word in an original sentence, and Write: Outloud can read children's stories back to them (see http://www.donjohnston.com for more information). Naturally, children will need tutoring in any of these applications before they can use them efficiently.

In addition to making the mechanics of revision easier, computers can transform the way students' work looks. Parker points out that the professional look children can achieve by using computers can have a profound effect on their motivation, particularly for those who would rather clean their rooms-or do anything-other than write! She observes,

Very often I think that children who have writing problems write on the computer and they see how nice it looks. The product is what you'd want it to look like. They're bright kids. They know sometimes what they produce is not neat or doesn't look pleasing to the eye. Then they see it come out of a computer! . . . when you see something that you can add a graphic to, and you can change the font, and you can change the color--what would you rather have? Your feeble attempt at drawing? (Wood, 1999, p. 147).

Children can then polish the sorts of professional-looking products that Parker describes, and share them with classmates and people beyond their own community.

To assess children's ability to edit their work, have them save every stage of their writing, along with peer editing comments, onto their own electronic folders--one for each subject area--either on individual disks or on a network workspace. This way, each folder will contain a sequence of documents, on a range of topics, automatically dated by the computer. The folders will allow you to assess children's writing development systematically by reviewing their work over time. For example, how well did the child integrate the ideas from his graphic organizer into his final piece? How did he respond to peer editing sessions and writing conferences? How effectively was he able to use constructive feedback to improve his writing? Alternatively, you can create an electronic portfolio of students' work by following Deirdre Kelly's (2000) ideas described above, in "Section 3e: Sharing and Peer Editing". These collections can be shared with parents in individual conferences.

Whether you use paper and pencil or a digital format, children's compositions, viewed as a whole, speak volumes about their growth as writers. These collections, or portfolios, offer teachers and parents an authentic assessment tool. Careful analysis can help answer questions such as: What are the child's strengths? In what area does she need improvement?

But these aren't the only benefits. Portfolios offer students themselves a powerful tool for self- evaluation. Encourage students to discuss what they were thinking as they worked through specific writing stages. Why did they make the choices they did? How did they choose to respond to feedback? How has their writing improved over time? This type of think-aloud activity can offer insights into how children process their ideas and how they perceive themselves as writers.

As Linda-Darling-Hammond of Stanford University (2000) asserts,

. . . assessment can be helpful, but only if it is authentic (or performance-oriented). When you use assessment to generate and communicate information that teachers, students and parents can use, informed decisions and an emphasis on improvement emerge. (pp. 48-9)

Computers can be used to help generate and communicate important information and to streamline the assessment process. They can also offer a new lens for viewing student work--a lens that may prove invaluable for making instructional decisions about each individual child.

3h. Publishing Student Work

When it comes to publishing student work, Calkins (1994) suggests that we plant the seed for this idea in children's minds as they write. As they compose, children need to be asking themselves questions such as "Who will my readers be? What shall I make of this?" (p. 269). As Calkins explains, the writer "needs to see these possibilities for publication early and then write toward these possibilities" (p. 269). For another perspective on the need for children to publish, see an excerpt from Graves's book, Writing: Teachers and Children at Work (1983).

As Frank Smith observes, "Writing is for stories to be read, books to be published, poems to be recited, plays to be acted, cartoons to be labeled, instructions to be followed, designs to be made, recipes to be cooked, diaries to be collected. . . Writing is for ideas, action, interaction, and evidence" (1986, p. 179, cited in Calkins, 1994). How can we make sure that students are given a wide audience for their creative pieces?

Today's technologies present us with unlimited opportunities to publish children's work in ways that transcend classroom boundaries. Children can submit their poems, stories, book reviews, and news items to web sites all over the world that specialize in celebrating young authors. In "Author, Author!" I describe several web sites that invite children to submit their work. Not only will children revel in becoming published authors, but their reading skills will be given a boost as they read children's work from all over the world.

Children can also collect their best work into a "sterling portfolio." As Deirdre Kelly explains, in contrast to the work-in-progress portfolio described previously, this portfolio shows off students' final products--each with correct spellings, punctuation, and so on. The sterling portfolios can be posted online so that relatives and friends from around the world can view them. Kelly advises, "Your multimedia package probably has a tool that translates your slide show directly into HTML or into a Web-friendly format of some kind. If not, you can also go through the back door and save each slide as a large graphic, and the insert the graphics into a Web site you build yourself!" (p. 19).

For more information about developing electronic portfolios, including a discussion of alternative assessments, see http://transition.alaska.edu/www/portfolios.html.

Another high-tech way to "publish" students' work is to have them create a multimedia exhibit for parents during your school's Open House or Technology Night. For example, Michelle Jacobson, a first/second grade combination teacher in the Boston area, adapted HyperStudio for a culminating project for a unit on earthworms. She began by demonstrating how to create "stacks" of virtual index cards, each of which contained facts about earthworms and children's illustrations. These stacks were then hyperlinked to other stacks in a nonlinear fashion. The end result was that readers could make choices about the order in which they wanted to read information. After displaying the project at Open House, Jacobson posted it on the school's web site (Wood, 1999).

A variation on this theme was illustrated by Media Specialist, Nancy Wagner and second grade teacher, Kristie Towner from El Dorado, Kansas (2000) in their "Get-Acquainted Slide Show." Inspired by the rhythmic pattern in the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? children created their own electronic slideshow by importing digital photographs of themselves into HyperStudio software. They also recorded their own voices, borrowing from Martin's rhythmic pattern, to create a "sound track." Next kids hooked the computer up to a TV monitor and activated the "automatic" setting of HyperStudio. Their show played continuously during their school's Open House.

4. "The Jetsons": Life Imitating Art?

Using computers to help children become writers makes good sense, particularly when we try to envision what their lives will be like 20 years from now. If you're old enough to remember "The Jetsons" cartoon series, you may recall many of the high-tech gadgets this 21st century family used in an offhand way. For example, there was an episode in which the older son, Elroy, wrote in a secret electronic code to communicate with his friends (see http://members.aol.com/PaulEC1/jet.html). What seemed like science fiction to our '60s sensibilities has become a reality in the '90s, as demonstrated by email and chat rooms that have become part of youth culture. Think of it. Our children can zap email messages to each other, as well as engage in real-time electronic "chats." The shorthand notations they've devised to communicate with instant messaging--for example, "LOL" for "laughing out loud"--certainly resemble a secret code!

And so it may be with new technological tools. A glimpse into the future of how today's children will create, edit, and publish their work in 2020 would no doubt confound us. But no matter what the shape, form, and color of new tools and gadgets--whether they're "smart" sneakers or word processors worn as sunglasses, children will need to think deeply about themselves as writers and how they might best use state-of-the-art tools to express their ideas. Thus the way we teach children to adapt computers to their needs as writers will guide them some day in molding yet-to-be-invented tools to suit their own creative purposes. And as their teachers we have the opportunity to help shape the future.

5. References

Atwell, N. (1991). Side by side: Essays on teaching to learn. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, pp. 140-141.

Atwell, N. (1998). In the Middle. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Calkins, L. M. (1983). Lessons from a child: On the teaching and learning of writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Calkins, L. M. (1994). The art of teaching writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Fiske, E. B. (1992). Smart schools, smart kids. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, p. 157.

Graves, D. H. (1983). Writing: Teachers and children at work. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Graves, D. H. (1994). A fresh look at writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Hansen, J. (1983) The author's chair. Language Arts, 60, 176-183.

Kelly, D. (April 2000) Portfolio.com. Classroom Connect, 6, No. 7.

Marius, R. (1991) A writer's companion, second edition. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Martin, B. Jr. (1992). Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Norman, M. (November, 2000) Linda Darling-Hammond: Teach the children well. Converge, 3. No. 11.

Papert, S. (1993). The children's machine. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Smith, F. (1986). Insult to intelligence: The bureaucratic invasion of our classrooms. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wagner, N. & Towner, K. (September, 2000). Get-acquainted slide show. Instructor, 110, No. 2, pp. 28 and 30.

Wood, J. M. (1999). Early literacy instruction and educational technologies: Three classroom-based models. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA.

Wood, J. M. (2000). Author, Author! Instructor Magazine, May/June 2000, 109, No. 8, pp. 64-66. Available on the Web at: http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/teachtech/author_author.htm

Zenzie, E. (1997). Summary of classroom inquiry. Unpublished paper for practicum. Lesley College, Cambridge, MA.

[1] All the names of teachers and children in this article are pseudonyms except in the case of the two teachers from Kansas who described their project in Instructor Magazine.