Making Writing Better Through Revisions
Students will be able to focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed using the revision process.
- Gather students together for the start of the lesson.
- Introduce your class to the concept of revision by explaining that it's a process that writers use to make their writing better and stronger.
- Ask your students if they know what the word revision means. After some discussion, define revision as changing something to make it better. Explain that today, they'll revise their writing to make it better.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Display a short pre-written piece of writing to your class, either written on chart paper, a whiteboard or using an interactive whiteboard. Use this example or an example of your own: Once there was a dog. He was very special. One day the dog, Max decided to go on an adventure. He snuck out of his house and crept silently down the street. It was still early and very dark. Max wanted to explore the neighborhood because he had heard that there was food in the trash cans outside of each house every morning. He saw an overflowing trash can and slowly crept up to it. He jumped up and was about to grab a piece of trash, when...
- Explain to your students that you started a story and you want some feedback to make it better. Briefly explain that feedback means getting information about writing and using that information to make changes.
- Read the story aloud, pausing to think aloud about different sections. For example, after the second sentence, wonder aloud whether or not you could be more descriptive.
- Mention that good writing is focused on a topic. Ask students to help you determine if this paragraph is clearly focused or if it needs to be changed to make it better.
- Take an orange marker and circle the beginning sentences. Tell your students that you're using orange because it'll remind you to go back and look it over slowly.
- Model thinking aloud, asking how you can make the beginning more interesting, or a "hook" that grabs readers' attention.
- Write Add more details in orange above the circled sentences.
Guided Practice(15 minutes)
- Project the Revision Checklist worksheet using the document projector. Explain to the class that they can use the checklist to revise their own work or become editors and offer feedback for someone else.
- Fill in the beginning of the checklist quickly (your name and "class" for the editor’s name) while telling the class what you're doing.
- Look at the section titled "Does the beginning grab the reader?" and ask your students what they think of the beginning of the piece. Does it grab the reader's attention? Have them pair-share with a partner and then share out. Record on the checklist, yes/no and ask one of the students to write their feedback on a sticky note and post on the board.
- Next, ask the students about details in the story. Are there any places that could use more details? Listen to a few comments from students and choose two comments to write on sticky notes and post on the sections that need more details.
- Continue with the same format for the remaining sections of the checklist.
- Explain that you just received some useful feedback for your writing and can now make revisions based on the feedback.
- Go back over your writing and demonstrate how you would incorporate some of the feedback into your piece.
Independent working time(20 minutes)
- Project the completed Revision Checklist. Pass out a checklist and a sticky notepad to each student. Tell them they'll use these to give feedback to a classmate about their writing.
- Ask your students what they need to think about when going over the revision checklist. Answers might include: be specific about where the feedback goes using the sticky notes, follow the directions on the revision checklist, be honest with your feedback and consider your classmate's feelings when giving feedback.
- Pair students up randomly and ask them to trade a piece of writing (from a previous lesson) with one another.
- Explain that when they're finished, they can read through the feedback and begin to make changes in their writing, as time allows.
- Circulate around the room offering support to pairs as needed.
- Provide students who finish early with the Revision Reflection worksheet worksheet to complete.
- Review the process of giving feedback to a small group to students who need guidance to give and receive feedback. Model the process with another pre-written piece and go through each section of the Revision Checklist again, encouraging students to give answers for each section and to explain the reasoning behind their feedback.
- Collect the Revision Checklist and accompanying piece of writing and assess whether students were able to provide appropriate feedback using the checklist.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- After the independent work time has concluded, ask students to return to the rug and place their finished checklist and piece of writing in front of them.
- Invite a few students to share out a piece of revision feedback they received that was helpful.
- Applaud what students did well. Highlight each part of the checklist as students share to review with the whole class. Discuss student questions as needed.