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A Four-Part Revising Project
Mark Marini (Muggsie)


Purpose: To help teachers aide students in the writing process.

Goal: Through reflecting and experiencing the revision/peer editing process, teachers will be better able to help their students edit their own work, as well as others.

Instructions:
(instructions are given as the presenter as this lesson would be broken up by the teachers)

  1. Teachers will bring an essay to class
  1. As every teacher is demonstrating what it is like to be an exemplary student, all teachers will be prepared.
  1. Writing:
  1. Teachers will take out a piece of paper and title it: Revised Thoughts
  2. For a period of time, teachers will write their thoughts on the revision process and peer editing. Focusing on:
  1. Practices in their classes
  2. Effectiveness of peer editing and revision
  3. Helpfulness to students who experience peer editing
  1. A discussion will be held on teachers’ thoughts and expectations for peer editing.
  2. This paper will be visited throughout the presentation.
  1. Revision #1: Teacher Made
  1. In this model, a teacher creates a document (essay), which could surround a current topic in class, or a topic that students have suggested, which “needs” editing.
  1. If done at the beginning of the year, classes could create the “editing” process as well as standards for class edits which could be posted or created into a booklet.
  1. The Do’s and Don’ts of commentary will be passed out
  1. This gives teachers a basis for creating rules around criticism
  1. Teachers will be given a teacher made example, which they will “edit.” As they edit, they should consider:
  1. What are the steps they go through?
  2. What do you find effective?
  3. Ho do you edit?
  1. Writing:
  1. For a brief period, teachers will reflect on how they edited papers, in short: what did they find?
  1. Revision #2: The Middle Revision
  1. In this model, teachers will step back from a piece already created to take out the various parts (intro, thesis, supports, conclusion) of an essay, or they will create an essay. After having the various parts, teachers will have a period of time to discuss their writing with other teachers to see how it could be improved. This will be rushed, creating an intense and needy atmosphere.
  2. Two ways: (vote)

#1: Teachers have prewritten piece

#2: Problem-solving think-sheet

1. Break your piece apart a. How do you introduce? b. What is your thesis? c. What are your supports? d. First support? e. Second support? f. Third support? g. Others support? h. How do you conclude? i. What is your conclusion? 1. Brainstorm problems you have faced 2. Pick one problem that you could write about 3. Either complete parts in column 1 or fill out Problem-solving think-sheet
  1. Teachers will pair up with a partner
  1. Discuss your ideas with your partner. You only have 5 minutes to share with this person (each of you only have 2.5 minutes) make your time count.
  2. Give ideas and supports to your partner. Let them know where you have questions. Let them know ideas you have to support their ideas.
  3. Repeat this three times.
  1. Writing:
  1. Think about how this worked in revising.
  1. Revision #3: The Sentence Opening Sheet
  1. This is an idea stolen from Robert B. Cahill and Herbert J. Hrebic out of Stack the Deck: A step-by-step procedure for writing (www.stackthedeck.com). There is a whole series of the program from elementary to high school and it is wonderful and easy to use. Attached are the directions for use. They can be modified to what you need. In short, by having students look at the beginning of a sentence, the verb used, the number of words and one other aspect of writing on which you are focusing, a lot of improvement can occur.
  2. Teachers will go through their essay with the sentence-opening sheet.
  3. Writing:
  1. Teachers will reflect on:
  1. how effective was the sheet?
  2. what did they learn?
  3. how would they change it?
  4. Revision #4: Guideline Editing
  1. Often when students are given the task of peer editing, they approach it with mild enthusiasm. The question may arise: “Why can’t we just say good, and be done with it.” By having specific guidelines, students HAVE to comment on various aspects of a peer’s writing. There is no choice. Also, by having the guidelines, this gives students the freedom from being blamed for “criticizing” another student’s work since the teacher has ordered them to fill out the sheet, therefore: THEY MUST DO IT. By giving them the guidelines, they know what to comment on and feel free to do so.
  2. Teachers will be given several examples of various guidelines and will choose one to use on a peer's paper. If time, they will be allowed to do two papers.
  1. Writing:
  1. Teachers will be given time to read over their paper titled Revised Thoughts and add one last paragraph to it.
  2. If time allows, discuss findings.