Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SOLC #10 When A Comment Leads to Revision

The Slice of Life March Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  

"As a writing teacher, one of the most important things you can do is practice, practice, practice your own writing. Every time you sit down to write you are gaining insider knowledge about what writers do–so that you can share that knowledge with the kids you teach."

Little did I know when I read Beth's post yesterday on Two Writing Teachers about using our own writing as a teaching tool, I would be putting it to use so soon.  

I had scheduled my post to publish at 6:00 am yesterday morning, but did not get a chance to link to TWT until later on in the day.  Before I linked, Michelle from the Literacy Learning Zone had already read it and posted a comment.  

The way she read my slice and the message I wanted to convey were not the same. She left a comment, and I realized that my writing was unclear.

The revision process began.

I started asking myself questions about my intended message and where the message broke down.  Where was I not clear and concise?  Where did the confusion lie?  What revisions did I need make?

I started with the title and then made some other changes.  I asked her to come back and read it again.  You can read our "comment conversation" here.

I know revision is a key issue for my student writers.  Many don't want to do it; many don't like to do it; and many don't see the need to do it.  But my post needed revising in order for my readers to understand what I wanted to say.  

This is an authentic lesson in which I can share with my students ~ which is exactly what Beth was talking about.


  1. So much of what I can teach kids about reading and writing come from my experiences as a reader and a writer. I wonder how people who are NOT readers and writers know what to teach.

    1. I so agree Carol. Writing on a regular basis and looking at craft moves has changed my teaching. I seen this before but deserves repeating: Would you send your child to swimming lessons from someone who doesn't get in the pool?

  2. It's not always easy to put yourself out there, but it provides powerful lessons for students. Revision is a key issue for so many. I find that students will revise more freely when using computers. We all have some that think they're done the first time. "When you think you're done, you've just begun."

  3. Ah, revision! We were working on this in class today (of course) and I know I need to show more of it to them in my own writing process. Very timely reminder.

  4. Leigh Anne, bravo to you for noticing your writing experience. I take the challenge to remember it is not easy for our kids to come up with daily ideas either. Revision is tough too. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great teaching point for revision! I love it when I can write, then step away for a day and return to my piece to see if my writing is still clear. Sometimes I'm not quite sure what I was thinking and need to revise to make it clear to myself, not just my reader.

  6. I like to read about the thinking behind the decisions. Your openness to Michelle's comment and honesty in sharing the story help you to be a learner and a teacher at the same time.

  7. Interesting! Your reaction and responses to Michelle's comment are a testimony to how you view learning. Instead of getting defensive, you used it as a way to improve your post. Bravo!

  8. Love how you took this and ran with your learning! I think we both felt comfortable enough to have the courage to share our honest thoughts. I read it one way, you meant it another way. A great writing sample to share with your students about being bold to publicly share and then receive feedback to improve or clarify your message.

  9. Love this story Leigh Anne. So authentic and a terrific story as you mentor your students through their revision process. Also what a strong testament for this writing community!

  10. You are such a great teacher!

    A favorite quote on revision...
    "If a teacher told me to revise, I thought that meant my writing was a broken-down car that needed to go to the repair shop. I felt insulted. I didn't realize the teacher was saying, "Make it shine. It's worth it." Now I see revision as a beautiful word of hope. It's a new vision of something. It means you don't have to be perfect the first time. What a relief!" - Naomi Shihab Nye