Revising with RADaR Revision

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SWBAT evaluate their writing using the RADaR Revision technique.

Big Idea

Evaluating writing helps with revision.

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Context and Time Frame

We teachers often tell students that they need to rewrite papers to improve them. Unfortunately, students often confuse rewriting w/ copy-editing. There is a difference. It's important that students understand the difference. The RADaR revision strategy Kelly Gallagher presents in Write Like This offers a way for students to systematically approach rewriting, as opposed to editing. 

I teach this lesson after students have composed the first draft of an essay. It's a lesson that students can use throughout the year and in subsequent classes. 

In this lesson students...

  • learn about RADaR revision,
  • model RADaR revision with a teacher example,
  • practice using RADaR revision on their writing, 
  • prepare to rewrite their essays.

Introduce RADaR Revision

15 minutes

Most students have little experience honestly evaluating their writing. The RADaR Revision technique gives students tools for self-evaluation. A detailed explanation of the technique can be found in Write Like This by Kelly Gallagher. 

Before and After:

First, show students a before image of an essay. This is an essay that has not been evaluated using RADaR Revision. 

Next, show students an image of the same essay after it has been "marked" using RADaR Revision. 

Showing students these before and after images gives them a vision of where they are going with their essays. 

Remind students that they already have experience annotating texts, and now they will annotate their own writing. 


RADaR Revision.docx Distribute the handout to students. 

Read through the handout with students and explain each letter of the acronym. In Write Like This, Kelly Gallagher gives the example of remodeling a room in his home as an analogy to rewriting an essay. 

Field questions and clarify any confusion students have at this point.



Model RADaR Revision

15 minutes

To help students get a sense of how to use RADaR revision, model using it with the essay you wrote in the Modeling Persuasive Essays lesson or with another essay written by the teacher. This can be anything, even a paper from one's college days. It's important that the teacher use his/her own writing because that's what the teacher will expect the students to do. 

Having the essay on an overhead transparency works well. Of course, using a document camera is even better. 

Think Aloud:

As I read my essay aloud, I identify places where I will

  • Replace information
  • Add information
  • Delete information
  • and...
  • Rearrange/Reorder information

Rather than assuming I need no changes, I'm careful to model each of the RADaR techniques. It's important that I'm very specific about the revisions I'll make because I want the students to be. For example, I don't just say add details, I say, add dates of challenges to HF. Add the number of challenges to HF." 

While I'm marking my paper, I ask students to use their copies of my HF essay to mark the essay with me. I also ask them to critique my writing, which they are hesitant to do at first but get in to as I agree with their comments and put them on my paper. Student Using RADaR on Teacher Sample Paper This gives kids practice using the technique prior to marking their own papers. 

RADaR Revision Color Coded shows the excellent result of having had a model to follow. 

RADaR Revise

25 minutes

Students are now ready to use the RADaR Revision technique on their essays. Student Paper Showing RADaR Strategy

Invite students to use RADaR revision to mark their papers. I encourage students to use colored pencils so they can easily see their annotations. 

As students mark their papers, the teacher will need to move among students and answer questions, clarify information, and support student choices. 

As I checked student progress, one student commented: "I'm so glad I get to revise this paper because my first one is a real piece of crap." 

Students with devices chose to us the mark-up feature in Word: Student Using Word Mark-Up Feature

Time to Rewrite

5 minutes

At the end of the period, tell students that they now need to rewrite their papers using the RADaR annotations from the first draft. 

Give them a due date for the next paper and tell them they will hand in both drafts of the paper.