November 24, 2013

Minilesson on Revision in Writing Workshop

I thought I would share a minilesson on revision.  I've been thinking a lot about the writing process and how important it is for students to be able to get their ideas out on paper before we, as teachers, formally ask them to revise and edit their writing.  Check it out:


Each minilesson begins with a minilesson statement so that students know the focus of the day and why.  Each minilesson in Writer's Workshop is premised with "Writers...." so that students automatically position themselves as writers doing "writerly" things.  Also, I've learned that my students are more successful with revision if I focus the revision on something specific that they can do instead of giving a large, overwhelming revision list.  By providing a specific focus, it makes it much more likely to revise for that specific objective.


 During the modeling portion of the lesson, I scanned in a copy of my Discovery Draft for my students and asked them to help me revise my essay for persuasive and transitional words.  Modeling using my own writing I have found to be an ultra-successful way to get the minilesson concept across to students.  When students see their teacher as a reflective writer engaging in the same writing process as them, they are much more likely to give it a try.


As part of the writing minilesson, I attempt to provide my students with several scaffolds in order to help them be successful when they are asked to independently apply the minilesson concept.  So aside from the modeling above, we also did a class "group think" to generate words that could be used to transition.  I could have easily given students a printed off list of transitional words to tape in their Writer's Notebooks, but I have found that teaching in a way that allows students to generate that list for themselves seems to make it more meaningful and more likely to "stick."


During the application portion of the minilesson, I hold writing conferences with students focusing on the application or any other part of the writing process that they're wondering about or wanting to work on further.  Generally, I give my students anywhere between 15-30 minutes to complete the application portion of the minilesson depending on timing and the demands of the minilesson application.


I cannot stress enough how important I believe the share portion of the Writing Workshop is.  Students who are experiencing "writer's block" can gain so much from the share portion, hearing their classmates share what they accomplished during Writing Workshop for the day.  Also, it develops a confidence for students as writers to share their writing out loud with their classmates.  By focusing the sharing of the writing to commenting on the minilesson concept, it allows all students to say at least a little piece of what their experience during WW was for the day.  Even if they were experiencing writing block and can talk about why, they are still expressing their experience as a writer.  I have found this instrumental in developing a community of writers within the classroom and generating more excitement surrounding writing.



Here is an anchor chart that I hung in my classroom during our focus on persuasive writing to help students with essay organization.

If you have any questions about writing minilessons or teaching the writing process in middle school or any comments, please make sure to leave me a message below. I love hearing from you.  I hope everyone has a great short week with Thanksgiving break coming up!

8 comments :

  1. Yes! Exactly! Great post about the structure of writers workshop and how to use it to teach real revision strategies- I agree that a long checklist is meaningless; specific modeled revision strategies are work!

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    1. I'm glad to find someone who thinks similar to me on this topic! The idea of a modeled revision strategy is definitely most effective.

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  2. Have you read Teaching Adolescent Writers by Kelly Gallagher? Excellent book you might like!

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    1. I have not read or heard of that book, but always like recommendations, so I'll definitely have to check it out! Thanks!

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  3. Great points. Our district always makes the students focus on CUPS (Capitals, Usage, Punctuation, and Spelling) . . . and then we pick one additional thing to focus on.

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    1. Thanks, Jamie! I have heard of CUPS before. Our district doesn't have something that we are required to follow. It is more teacher discretion for what we think would be best conventions why for that particular type of writing. We do use the Six Traits though.

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  4. Thanks for the post! It has given me some insight into beginning my own writers workshop.

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    1. You're very welcome! So glad it was helpful to you!

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