Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Learning To Revise

Prepare for the Workshop

To prepare for this workshop, you will examine the strategies you already use and read two articles about revision.


What Do You Do?

In How Writers Work, Ralph Fletcher writes, "I think of revision as 'story surgery,' a time when I roll up my sleeves and make the dramatic changes necessary to make my words sing to the tune I want." Even the most experienced writers revise their work and initiate the changes they want to make. For student writers, however, this self-direction may not come naturally. Instead, they make writing choices based on what they think the teacher wants.

Think of a recent writing assignment and your students' attitudes toward revision. Then answer the following questions in your notebook:

  • Think of one or more students in your class who don't seem to have ownership of the pieces they write. What factors might account for their feelings?
  • As teachers, we often think students dislike revision because they simply don't want to make changes. How can a lack of ownership translate into a distaste for revision?
  • What are some ways you might help your students discover their own intentions with their writing?

Examine the Literature

Print out the Examine the Literature Response Chart (PDF). Then read each article listed below, recording your ideas on the chart during and after reading. When you have finished, save your chart to submit as an assignment.

Interior Design: Revision as Focus (PDF)
This article examines how one teacher provides time, directions, and structure to help her students develop effective revision habits.

Smede, Shelly D. "Interior Design: Revision as Focus." English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English), 90, no. 1 (September 2000): 117-121. Copyright 2000 by the National Council of Teachers of English (www.ncte.org). Used with permission.

The Writer's Toolbox: Five Tools for Active Revision Instruction (PDF)
Barry Lane's book After THE END: Teaching and Learning Creative Revision gives teachers classroom ready examples and lessons to teach revision concepts. In this article, a teacher shares a "writer's toolbox" she developed based on the five revision "tools" discussed in Lane's book: Questions, Snapshots, Thoughtshots, Exploding a Moment, and Making a Scene.

Harper, Laura. "The Writer's Toolbox: Five Tools for Active Revision Instruction." Language Arts (National Council of Teachers of English) 17 (March 1997): 193-200. Copyright 1997 by the National Council of Teachers of English (www.ncte.org). Used with permission.

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