Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Write in the Middle
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Write in the Middle
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Workshop 8: Teaching the Power of Revision

Workshop 8 takes viewers into the classrooms of three language arts teachers—Velvet McReynolds, Mary Cathryn Ricker, and Jack Wilde—as their students tackle the ongoing task of revision.

To Velvet McReynolds, revision is at the heart of the writing process—it's "where the magic happens." Using a student exemplar, class discussion, handouts, and individual and small-group work, Velvet prompts her seventh-graders to focus on revising personal narratives they wrote earlier in the year. The two-day session culminates with a celebration circle where students share "before" and "after" versions of their papers.

Mary Cathryn Ricker's seventh-grade students are beginning work on an autobiographical multigenre project. On the second day of the unit, Mary Cathryn presents a mini-lesson on the Barry Lane revision technique of "exploding the moment." After the students mine their writing notebooks for a piece of personal writing to revise, Mary Cathryn moves around the room helping them come up with details that will expand and improve their writing.

Jack Wilde also is teaching a mini-lesson, this one on leads for persuasive essays. Using models drawn from other students' papers, Jack helps his class generate a list of effective ways to begin their papers. Then, after the students have drafted openings for their essays, they confer with one another and with Jack about possible revisions.

Throughout the workshop, we hear reflections on revision from both teachers and students, as well as discussions among the teachers about dealing with student resistance to revision, planning mini-lessons, and other issues related to the revision process.


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