Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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workshop 7 guide

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The Benefits of Revision
First Steps A Shared Path Different Audiences Different Purposes
Usage and Mechanics Providing Feedback on Student Writing Learning from Professional Writers Writing in the 21st Century
Amy Tan is a celebrated contemporary author whose recent works include The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings and The Bonesetter's Daughter. In an interview for this project, she talked about why she loves to revise her work. Her words can help young authors see the task ahead of them in a new light.
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"Revision is something you either hate or you love, and it really has to do with your attitude about what revision means. I love to do revision. I revise probably a hundred times with everything that I do before it's ever published, and that's because every time I open my file and work on it, I'm revising everything that was done before. Revision is not failure. Revision doesn't mean something is imperfect. Revision gives you second chances, fifth chances, eighth chances to look at something and do it from a different perspective, do it with a different voice. It is a way to play. You play with language when you revise. You get to look at all your sentences and say, 'Is that really the best way that I want to say that?' 'Can I make it funnier or sadder or more compelling somehow?' And so, revision is-for me--fun. I think that what students need to realize-- and maybe it's been engrained otherwise in them unfortunately at an earlier age--revision is not failure. Revision is an art. Most writers consider that something they enjoy doing. I don't know of any writer, as a matter of fact, who's published who ever writes it the first time, thinks it's great, doesn't go back to it ever again and just gets it published. That's what you do with email when you press the button too fast and it goes off. But every writer who I know of-- and we're talking about writers who are Nobel Prize Laureates, who win all the prizes and write best sellers and all that-- they revise and revise. They craft. That's what crafting is. I think students might look at it also as more like sculpture. You get a big pile of stuff, and you have to begin shaping, and you say, 'Yeah, that's the figure I want. I want this bust of a young person here.' But then after a while you think, 'Well, what if I just made this a little bit more realistic on this side or more abstract on this side?' You start playing with it again. And so you're patting and shaping the whole time. That's the difference between, say, the kind of craftsmanship with sculpture versus water color. Watercolor is very fast, and you do it and you don't go back and do things over again. It's set. Writing is more like sculpture."

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