Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Workshop 8: Teaching the Power of Revision

Velvet McReynolds' Revision Lesson

Velvet McReynolds' students share in a Celebration Circle
Velvet McReynolds' students share in a Celebration Circle

Starting on the first day of school, Velvet McReynolds' seventh-graders assemble their quick writes and drafts in a writing portfolio. Over the course of the year, the students will select some of these pieces for revision and eventual publication. Velvet balances a workshop approach to writing instruction with the necessity of preparing the students for Alabama's state assessment. So her instructional planning always includes lessons and mini-lessons that incorporate state writing standards.

By the second semester, the students' portfolios include a minimum of two personal narratives—one written after Velvet reads Mem Fox's Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge to the class and the second inspired by a scene from The Giver by Lois Lowry. To help the students move these pieces along—and to insure that they meet the standards for writing narratives set by the state—Velvet suggests that the students focus on one of these two personal narratives for their special revision session. However, in keeping with the goal of providing student choice, she also allows them to choose some other piece from their portfolio, including quick writes.

Revision Lesson (pdf)

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