Revising for Strong Claim, Evidence and Language

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Students will be able to strengthen claim and evidence by revising a previous essay.

Big Idea

A second look: reViewing and revising leads to better content and structure.

Do Now: Appositive Practice

5 minutes

For review of our first grammatical study, I ask students to write a sentence with an appositive as their Do Now today. As anticipated, a few students ask, "what's an appositive?" This is why we have to review. I ask for a volunteer to give the definition, and then I give a short example.

After attendance is in, I ask for ten examples and request punctuation to be read, too, so we are reminded of where commas belong. I get a few volunteers, all correct, and then move into cold call. One student uses an adjective rather than a noun. I praise for the correct commas but remind the class that we need a noun. I ask the class to offer some possibilities, which they do, and we move on, reviewed and ready to add appositives to our writing.

Revising Essay One

40 minutes

I ask students to take out their first essays and review the types of feedback they received. I only gave minimal suggestions for improvement as it was our first essay, written before any lessons and more of a feel for their ability for me than anything else. I did, however, mark grammatical errors with dots in the margin (students must find their errors themselves, which helps them learn to be better reviewers).

Now that we have studied good claim and evidence statements, I ask students to revise their work to meet the target. I also ask for an added appositive, underlined for easy identification for me later.

We move to the computer lab so students can polish, and I walk around to be sure students are on task and to answer questions about their revision goals. Only a few students request help finding their grammatical errors, a good sign for their revision abilities. Sometimes we just need to take a second look at an essay to make it better. At the end of the hour, students print their revised essays, staple them to their rough drafts for easy comparison for me (and for them down the road when they reflect on their growth), and submit with smiles or groans (essay work is, after all, a challenge).

Of course, not all revisions were perfect. Some students misinterpret the errors labeled by the dots; new dots on their revised copies will alert them to their continuing errors. Others simply rephrase their original claim and evidence rather than strengthening them by adding qualifiers ("Schools should use iPads" turns into "iPads are good for school" rather than "Schools should use iPads to enhance student learning"). For these students, I will now offer specific examples on their work. More practice is ahead.


Want more? Check out my reasons for revision: