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Writer Activities

The Writer is a customizable writing tool that helps educators in all disciplines teach the writing process to their K‐12 students. Designed to improve narrative, persuasive, informative, fiction, and nonfiction writing skills, the Writer lets teachers create and assign writing assignments and guides students through the entire writing process. Students are encouraged to monitor their progress via assessment tools, such as state writing rubrics and checklists. The Writer tool’s features empower teachers to create and assign writing assignments that meet national and state standards. 

Creating a New Writer Activity

You can use the Writer to create a new writing project, or to copy an existing project to use as a template. To create a new Writer activity:

  1. From the navigation bar, select Assignments > Assignment Builder.
  2. With the Curriculum tab selected, click New Writer Activity.

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The Writer window opens with the Instructions tab selected.

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  1. If desired, include instructions for students to read when they first start the Writer project.
  2. To include pre-writing and draft writing support, click the Writing Framework tab and enter the desired information.
  3. To create note cards, click the Note Cards tab and enter note card and pinpoint text.
  4. To include web links that students may visit as they work on their projects, click the Web Links tab and enter titles and URLs.
  5. To use a rubric, click the Rubric tab. You can use an existing rubric or create a new one.
  6. When you are finished creating the new Writer project, click File > Save.
  7. In the Save Project dialog box, click the desired folder in which you want to save the project, remembering that you must have permission to save to the District and School Projects folders and that you cannot save to the Projects folder.


Note: Saving a project in the My Projects folder restricts access so that only you can see and copy the project.


  1. If desired, set Draft Mode to Yes. You cannot assign a project that is in Draft Mode. When you are ready to assign the project, open the draft, make your changes, and then Save As (new name for the project). Ensure that Draft Mode is set to No.
  2. Select the Subject and Grade.
  3. Enter a name for the project; click Save; and then Close.
  4. To make the project available for an assignment, click Send to Assignment Builder.
  5. Click Close, then Exit.

How the Writer Tool Guides Students' Writing

The Writer guides students through each stage of the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Here are brief descriptions of each of these stages, as well as a few suggestions for teachers. 

The pre-writing stage allows students the opportunity to brainstorm and start forming a plan for their writing assignment. 

  • Teachers can write questions that help prepare students for their writing assignment.
  • Teachers can also give students partially completed note cards to fill in or can ask students to develop the note cards or graphic organizers themselves.
  • Outlines help students to collect information relevant to their writing topic and to organize their thoughts.
  • Students can also use graphic organizers to jot down ideas during the pre-writing stage. The Graphic Organizer and Note Cards tools are synchronized with the outline. The outline can then be pasted to the Drafting tool for students to expand on their writing.

Drafting. Drafting is the beginning of the final product, which is usually a project. Students concentrate on organization, supporting details, and coherence of their entire composition. They can express their thoughts freely, since the software tools make rewriting and revising easy to do. You can remind students to express all ideas in sentences and paragraphs when writing a draft. 

Revising. When students have finished their drafts, they can evaluate their projects using a self‐assessment and rubric. Students can then revise their projects accordingly. 

Editing. Editing includes correction of punctuation, spelling, capitalization, sentence structure, word selection, and so on. Students can also cut and paste text to change the order of their words, sentences, or paragraphs. 

Publishing. Publishing is the process of creating the final product for the intended audience. Students can use desktop publishing features, such as centered and boldface type, to make their projects look polished.

Evaluating Writer Projects

Teachers can access submitted Writer projects by: 

  • selecting Assignments > Submitted Projects from the main menu.
  • selecting Assignments. From the Assignments home page, the Submitted Projects button becomes animated if submitted but unopened projects are awaiting the teacher’s attention.

When the Writer tool opens, the Submitted Projects dialog box displays a list of projects that students have turned in. 
Note: To display a list of all submitted projects—evaluated and unevaluated—first close the Submitted Projects box. Then select File > Open.

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