Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Write in the Middle
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Write in the Middle
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Workshop 8: Teaching the Power of Revision

Key Practices To Observe in Workshop 8

This workshop demonstrates a variety of teaching practices that help students develop skills in revising their writing.

  • Teachers affirm the importance of helping students with revision. The teachers' goal, though, is not just to help students develop a particular piece of writing but to help students acquire skills and strategies that will enable them to grow as writers.
  • Creating a positive environment, a community of writers, is important in promoting revision. This includes an atmosphere of trust and respect, support and encouragement from the teacher and classmates, regular experience in helping others and being helped, comfortable surroundings, arrangement of furniture to facilitate discussion, and an opportunity to write and share writing without fear of undue criticism.
  • Because students write about matters that are important to them and draw on their own experiences, they are encouraged to revise and to revise effectively.
  • Teachers demonstrate that they expect students to revise ("to get them in the revision door"). They organize specific lessons and tasks to help students learn to revise and to recognize the power of revision. Revision is a routine part of the writing workshop.
  • Since revision often is difficult, teachers provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate (especially to peers) the benefits of revision. They also arrange for peers to help each other and to express support and approval of classmates' accomplishments.
  • Teachers actively teach strategies for revision through a variety of practices: reading and talking about examples; modeling revision and having students model revision; structuring small-group conferences; providing mini-lessons on specific features of writing and on revision methods; talking with students one-on-one; raising questions to help students see options for revision and to help them think critically; displaying writing on the overhead; leading students in tasks that result in a sharing of before-and-after writing; helping students create and use revision forms and checklists for revision; and arranging for students to read their work aloud and to talk about revision with peers.
  • Lessons aimed at helping students revise are focused, and teachers are careful to be clear and specific in guiding students through revision tasks. Lessons often include samples of writing, which are displayed or provided in copies, open discussion of techniques, references to resources, practice in revision strategies, sharing, implementation of the lesson in the students' own writing, and more sharing. Students often include examples of revisions and the results of revision tasks and exercises in their writer's notebooks.
  • Teachers do not merely promote revision; they lead students to understand reasons for revision—why a revision is useful, how a revised piece of writing can ultimately influence readers.
  • Teachers draw on practices they have observed or have read about in professional literature, and they adjust the techniques to their own students. For example, one teacher uses Barry Lane's "exploding the moment" strategy with her seventh-graders.
  • Teacher-student conferences are a major means of helping students revise their work and develop as writers. In these conferences, teachers are careful to promote student ownership and to guide students in making their own decisions.



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