Sunday, September 18, 2016

Revision - The Misunderstood Step

Digilit Sunday

Today I am participating in Digital Learning Sunday with Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche.  This week Margaret has encouraged us to write about revision.

For many of my students, revision is the most misunderstood step in the writing process.  Many students confuse editing with revising.  And many students just rewrite exactly what they already have written and turn it in.  

Digital literacy, through the use of Google docs, has made revision moves easier to point out to my students.  They can scan back through the revision history and easily see the changes they have made.  However, students seem to avoid the needed steps to revision when writing is done with paper and pencil.  

But this step in the process still needs to be taught.  Because many teachers do not write themselves, they are not strong revisers, therefore lack a deep understanding of the skill and craft of revision.

Because of this lack of knowledge, revision is sometimes the step in the writing process that receives the most neglect.  I am guilty.  We are great at brainstorming topics, drafting, editing with a checklist, and publishing, but for me as a teacher of writing, revising is the one I hurry through.  Although as I write in my own life, revising is the one step in the process in which I take the most time.  

I have caught myself quickly saying to students, "You need to add more details."  

But what does that exactly mean to a young writer?

Last spring I watched The Educator Collaborative Gathering, and Roz Linder had a segment about her new book, The Big Book of Details:  46 Moves for Teaching Writers to Elaborate.

I was hesitant about buying it because I was afraid it would be geared more toward younger writers and narrative writing, which we don't do as much of in middle school. 

But I was so wrong, and I am so glad I purchased this book.

The Big Book of Details is great resource for teaching revision in all areas of writing: narrative, opinion and argumentative, and also informational.  

Each section contains an if/then chart with "If you see this in student's writing...try this..." which will help guide teachers to move their students forward.

Each lesson contains:

"What does this move look like in writing"
"When writers make this move" 
"How I introduce this move"
"Guided writing practice ideas"

I know revision is an area of teaching which I need to "revise", and I think this book just may be the answer.

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