Generating and Organizing Ideas

To write, students need to generate, organize, and communicate ideas. Often students would rather not plan before writing. These students would prefer to "jump in" and just start writing. For some students, it is important that they go slowly and take time to think about what they want to say before writing. In general, students should be taught that writing is not an emergency event and that the processes of planning, thinking, and organizing are just as important as the final product.

Students' ability to generate and organize their ideas can impact the richness of their final piece of writing. In order to generate and organize ideas well, students must be able to get started and concentrate on the task and monitor the quality of their work. Depending on the type of writing task, students also may need to be able to present their perspective and think creatively to come up with new ideas. For example, students may need to decide what to write about, develop a topic, research a topic, produce original thoughts, elaborate on ideas, use prior knowledge, think critically, and apply new and learned concepts.

All of these skills can help a student with generating organizing their ideas when writing. This chart describes some important skills related to generating and organizing ideas.

Necessary SubSkillsCommon ObstaclesHelpful Tips
Student is able to get started on writing assignments on his/her own. Student doesn't know how to get started on writing assignments. view
Student is able to work, even when s/he does not feel like exerting effort during a writing task. Student may seem bored or lazy during writing tasks, and has trouble concentrating on writing assignments that are less interesting. view
Student self-monitors his/her actions regularly while writing, making adjustments to strategies if he/she is not making progress. Student does not monitor the quality of his/her written work, and rarely, if ever, modifies his/her strategies. view
Student is able to come up with his/her own ideas and to think creatively when writing. Student has difficulty generating ideas or thinking in a creative manner when writing, for instance when required to come up with an original topic. view
Student is able to organize his/her ideas in a logical order when writing. Student has difficulty organizing his/her ideas during written work. view