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Improving Revision: . Making I t M ore G ooder . By E. Luchs. Dilemma.

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Improving Revision:

  • Making It More Gooder.

    By E. Luchs


My dilemma stems from an awareness that not all of my students are fully utilizing the revision step of the writing process. Furthermore, finding a fair and impartial way to assess the growth in writing for all students, regardless of their current capabilities is problematic. I want to ensure that all students are being challenged and are showing growth from their original draft to their publication.

Becker Middle School Demographics:

  • AYP School Designation: Watch

  • ELA AYP Designation:Watch

    • In 2012, 65% of 8th graders passed their proficiency.

    • 122 students (22%) failed with a 4/8.

  • 1434 students enrolled for the 2012-2013 school year.

    • American Indian /Alaskan Native 0.7%

    • Asian / Pacific Islander 10.1%

    • Hispanic / Latino 23.9%

    • Black / African American 15.1%

    • White / Caucasian 50.2%

  • School demographics

    • Students with an IEP: 11.9%

    • Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students: 14.2%

    • Students Receiving Free or Reduced Price Lunch: 48%

Background of my teaching philosophy:

  • Prewriting

  • Class Rules- I don’t know is NOT okay.

  • Drafting

  • Pencil in hand

For 3 minutes:

  • Reflect on why revision is important to your students’ growth as a writer?

  • Do you find that certain groups of students struggle with revision? If so, why?

  • What problems do you encounter within your own classroom with students revising their work?

  • How do you assess revision in your classroom?

The 4 point rubric!

  • Students must understand their expectations to be able to meet them!

  • “Writing IS revising, and the writer’s craft is largely a matter of knowing how to discover what you have to say, develop, and clarify it, each requiring the craft of revision.”

    -Donald Murray

    Best Practices in Writing Instructions.

Analytical Traits Overview

  • Take a moment and write a sentence to describe what you look for in each of these parts of revision!

  • Ideas

  • Organization

  • Voice

  • Word Choice

  • Sentence Fluency

Rewriting is the essence of writing well—where the game is won or lost.—William Zinsser

  • Discuss with your group members what holistic grade you think your particular writing piece would be given.


With your group members, discuss:

  • What are some typical improvements that you want to see in your students’ ideas revision?

  • How do you ensure that they are making growth from the rough draft to the final draft?

Show, don’t tell!

  • Original descriptive sentence ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Improved sentence. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Explanation of why this sentence is improved.



  • What are some of the ways in which students struggle with organization of their papers?

  • What sorts of things would you add to a checklist for your students to improve on?

Possible checklist questions:

  • Does the paper have an introduction that leads into the topic sentence?

  • Does the paper have a conclusion that readdress the topic sentence and is satisfying to the reader?

  • Does each body paragraph have a single supporting idea that supports the topic sentence? What are they?

  • Are the supporting ideas jumping around and repetition of the sentences?

  • Are transitions used as new topics and paragraphs get introduced?


  • When we refer to an author’s ‘voice’ in a paper, what is it that we’re referring to?

  • In what ways can students improve it?

  • How can educators assess the analytical trait of voice?

Things to keep in mind for revising voice:

  • Awareness of audience.

  • Enthusiasm for the topic.

  • Writer evokes emotion from the audience

  • Use of literary techniques, such as figurative language.

  • Punctuation usage.

  • Imagery

Word Choice:

  • In what ways does a strong word-choice affect the quality of the piece?

  • What strategies can we model to improve ‘Tier 3’ word usage for students?

Word Choice:

  • Original Verb:  Improved Verb:

  • ____________________________

  • ____________________________

  • ____________________________

  • Original Adjective:  Improved Adjective:

  • ____________________________

  • ____________________________

  • ____________________________

  • “Sentence combining practice provides writers with systematic knowledge of syntactic possibilities, the access to which allows them to sort through alternatives in their heads as well as on paper and to choose those which are most apt" –Hillocks, 1986.

  • What are some troubles that fixing sentence fluency can improve?

  • What strategies do you implement to help with sentence fluency?

Group Discussion:

  • What problems have you encountered when you have utilized peer-revision in the past?

Kagan Grouping Strategies:

  • Structure each group to have a balance of abilities!

    Groups: 123456 7 8





    The Kagan strategies and research show that a fair balance of all academic achievers offers the greatest growth. When working with “elbow partners,” the highest students are best paired with the mid-low, and the mid-high with the low. This lowers behavioral management issues, as well as offers the optimal student improvement for the lower students.

Believe in the Process!

  • Structure is essential for peer-revision!

  • Setting a protocol and following it consistently deters off-task behavior and enhances productivity in the groups!

  • Set up criteria for feedback! Responses should be specific and constructive!

    • Warm feedback should indicate what the author did well.

    • Cool feedback should indicate where improvement is needed,., but in a respectful manner.

    • As a third party, the teacher should be able to see EXACTLY where these feedbacks are being indicated.

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