Way to Go/Way to Grow: A Revision and Peer Evaluation Strategy

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SWBAT articulate what they like about a peer's essay and what they would like to see revised.

Big Idea

Listening to a peer read his/her essay supports the revision process for the writer and responder.

Teacher to Teacher: Lesson Overview and Context

Ready. Set. Write. These three words set the tone for my pedagogic philosophy about writing: For students to improve their writing, they must write often (preferably daily) and they must write in quantity.

I expect students to be ready to write daily. Additionally, rather than announcing an essay assignment at the end of a literature unit, I focus students attention on preparing for major writing assignments throughout our study of literature and weave focused writing instruction into the literature units. 

As a teacher, it's my job to help students find their writing voices and to show them they have important things to say.

This lesson is part of the unit The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare: Unmasking a Troubling Text 

In its original context, it is 

Lesson 21 0f 21 for The Taming of the Shrew

Writing the essay: How long will it take?

  • In the last lesson, students drafted their essays in the lab. See "Synthesis Essay: The Taming of the Shrew" lesson.
  • In this lesson students work through two revision strategies: "Way to Go-Way to Grow" and RADaR Revision.
  • During the next class students will rewrite in the lab. 

There are two ways to think about "Way to Go-Way to Grow" peer evaluation:

  • As a peer evaluation strategy following the first draft of a paper. This can be any writing mode. The lesson is that adaptable. 
  • As a peer evaluation strategy following the first draft of a paper within a larger literature unit. This is the context in which I used the lesson as it is part of the "The Taming of the Shrew" lesson. 

About using the lesson as part of a literature unit:

When teachers culminate a literature unit with a paper, it's important to consider the purpose of that essay before teaching. This is vital because students need to gather evidence during their reading, and teachers need to have a plan about what they want students to accomplish during the unit. 

This is why the unit for The Taming of the Shrew begins with two essential questions:

  • By the end of the play, has Kate been tamed?
  • Is The Taming of the Shrew Sexist?

Beginning a literature unit with an essential question guides student thinking and teacher planning. This is at the heart of Grant Wiggins' ideas in Understanding by Design. 

In this lesson:

  • Explain and model "Way to Go--Way to Grow"
  • Students use "Way to Go--Way to Grow"
  • Review RADaR Revision: "Revising Using RADaR Revision" in the Unit: Persuasive Essay Writing
  • Revise using RADaR Revision technique.


Explain and Model

15 minutes

As students enter the room, I ask them to have their essays ready. Then I tell them we will complete two revision techniques:

  • "Way to Go--Way to Grow"
  • RADaR Revision

I remind students that they have already practiced RADaR revision but that to perfect the technique, they need to use it more than once. 

I also tell students that "Way to Go--Way to Grow" is a listening strategy that will do two things:

  • Allow you the writer to hear how your writing sounds since you'll be reading it aloud.
  • Allow you to receive feedback from a peer who will share what s/he likes about the paper and what s/he thinks needs tweaked. 

The Set-up:

  • Tell students to draw a T chart on their paper. The teacher puts one on the board. On the Board: T Chart for "Way to Go--Way to Grow"
  • Ask for a volunteer. 
  • Put two desks together facing one another so that the partners are sitting facing each other. This is the set-up for pair-and-share. The exercise can work with triads and with groups of four. 

Model "Way to Go--Way to Grow" (I invite students to practice w/ me as I model):

  • With the student and teacher facing one another, the student begins reading his/her paper. 
  • As the student reads, the teacher writes and continues to write throughout the reading. 
  • While writing, the responder lists positives comments about the essay in the "Way to Go" column and revision suggestions in the "Way to Grow" column. Teacher Modeling "Way to Go--Way to Grow" T Chart

Model Sharing "Way to Go--Way to Grow" responses:

  • After the student reads his/her essay, tell students that as they listen to the responses, they need to take marginal notes on their papers. Students should not share the written notes until after they verbally share their responses.
  • Read the "Way to Go" column first. Hearing the positives makes it easier to hear the suggestions for revisions. Teacher Notes "Way to Go--Way to Grow" Page 2
  • Read the "Way to Grow" column next. Remind the essayist to take notes during this time of sharing.
  • Take time for clarifications. 

Invite Students to Respond

30 minutes

After modeling, give students time to share with one another. Remind them of two things:

  • Continue writing throughout the reading.
  • Take notes on the essay as the responder shares both "Way to Go" and "Way to Grow."

During this time, the teacher should monitor student work by circulating around the room. This gives the teacher an opportunity to address student concerns and to reinforce student learning as they practice a new peer evaluation technique. "Way to Go--Way to Grow "Student Response

For example, one student tends to struggle with voicing her opinions in writing. She tends to summarize. This issue became a point of discussion with her partner, and by circulating, I was able to address it with her and offer support to her responder. 

Several students told me that reading their essays aloud helped them see things that "didn't make sense." I was able to tell them that this is the beauty of the activity. We hear what the reader sees, and if something doesn't make sense to us as the writer, it probably won't make sense to the reader. I was able to tell them that I make my husband listen to me read things I've written just so I can hear how they sound to me. 



Follow Up with RADaR Revision

15 minutes

Since today is all about revising and getting to rewrite, I want students to practice using RADaR revision, which students learned in a previous writing assignment ("Revising Using RADaR Revision" in the Unit: Persuasive Essay Writing). To reinforce their learning and to remind them about RADaR revision, I reviewed the technique by putting some notes on the board: Teacher Notes RADaR Revision

The notes show students that 

R means "Replace." We talk about replacing weak words such as "great" with stronger ones, such as "compelling."

A means "add." What new information or additional details does the essay need?

D means "Delete." What needs to be removed from the essay? I remind students that anything that doesn't support the thesis needs to go as this is an analytical essay, not a reader response.


R means "Reorder." I tell students that one way to think about reordering is to think about argument as "reason giving." For example, if the student is arguing that "Kate has been tamed," the student need to give "reasons" for this position. Each part of the essay body should focus on one reason. To organize the points, I suggest to students that they use color coding of the essay parts. That's what the image in the box with the three colors show. 

Those students who run out of time will need to finish RADaR revision as homework since the next day is a lab day for rewriting the paper. Student's RADaR Revision shows the initial revision effort of a student who was absent from today's lesson, yet the student knows that revision techniques are on the agenda today and took the initiative to activate prior knowledge and practice the technique from the previous lesson.