When students enter the room today, I will ask them to take out the fully written drafts of their essays because today, we will tackle revising and editing in a way that we have not done so before. Today, we will work on revising by creating specific types of sentences in our essays, AND we will work on editing with specific purposes. I will be using this Revision Cafe flipchart to guide our work today. In order to view the flipchart, you will need to download the ActivInspire software from Promethean Planet.
The "Do Now" prompt for today is:
Select the most well written sentence in your essay. Write that sentence and explain why you chose it.
I am asking them to do this because I can't wait to see what types of sentences they think are well written and to see if they match up with their classmates' (and my) ideas of well-written sentences. I am sooooo hoping we are on the same page---get it?
After about 2 minutes, I will ask them to share the sentence with a person sitting next to them. The person sitting next to them will have the task of answering the following questions:
1) Is the sentence a complete thought?
2) Does the sentence include a vivid verb? If so,circle it.
3) Does the sentence contain vivid modifiers? If so, put a box around them.
3) Is the sentence a simple, compound, complex, or compound complex sentence?
4) What would you suggest to improve the sentence? Rewrite your sentence on a post it note and put it next to the sentence.
I am hoping that this activity will begin to change the way students think about the words they use. It is also an opportunity to use precise words and phrases to create a picture of events or descriptions in the text CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3d. As my students identify the types of sentences in their peer's essays, they will also be checking for variety and interest in the sentences so that their peers can make appropriate revisions CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1b prior to publishing.
In this section of the lesson, I will model how to use precise words to revise nouns, verbs, and adjectives (or other modifiers) CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1. I will also model how to revise short choppy sentences by adding types of phrases and combining them to create compound, complex, or compound complex sentences CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1b
For guided practice, I will have students work together to revise another sentence. I am having them work together to revise a sentence because some of my students are really efficient at sentence construction, but for others, it is like climbing Mt. Everest. I may need to pair students together purposefully in order to ensure that all of my students get the most from this activity.
Before they begin their independent work, they will have two solidly revised sentences to use as models.
In order to see if they can apply their knowledge of sentence clarity and variety (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1b), I will ask my students to select sentences in their essays to revise with the following guidelines (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5):
Essays must have
1) two compound sentences
2) two complex sentences
3) two compound complex sentences
4) three verb revisions
5) three adjective or modifier revisions
6) three noun revisions
The revisions should be written with a different color ink and labeled so that they are noticeable when I review their rough drafts. I am choosing to do it this way because it will tell me whether or not my students are fully aware of the revisions they have made. At the end of this activity----WALLA--sentence variety! Hopefully we can celebrate.
During this second application part of the lesson, I am asking my students speed date a classmate's essay using a peer review checklist. I am asking my students to do this because they will have just made significant revisions to word choices and sentence structure (in addition to the revisions they will have made during the writing process), and this is a change to vet the revisions with their peers before making any final revisions of their own.The dating part....just keeps it interesting.
This review is extensive and focuses on several writing skills that we have learned (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2). For example, they will check an essay to see if there is textual evidence or quotes (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2b ). The peer review checklist even requires students to go a bit further and make sure that each quote is explained. This is important because I have been talking to my students about NOT ending or beginning paragraphs with quotes. Instead, they need to use the evidence to support what they are saying and explain why those quotes matter. If students are proficient at finding strengths and weaknesses in their peers' essays, it is more likely that they will be able to produce a quality essay of their own.
Because this is an extensive review, I am choosing to do it in stages and with multiple group members. Each member of the group will be looking for specific elements on the checklist, so they will become an expert on that element.
The groups will consist of 4 members.
Member 1 will go on a date with the heading, title, introduction and body paragraph 1 of the essay.
Member 2 will go on a date with body paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and the conclusion of the essay.
Member 3 will go on a date with the conclusion and numbers 1-6 on the grammar checklist.
Member 4 will go on a date with the essay by focusing on 7-13 on the grammar checklist. Note that we are skipping the last item on the list because it refers to a specific writing assignment.
Each member will speed date three lovely (or not so lovely) essays. They will spend about 10 minutes per essay. I am giving them a structured time frame in order to keep them on task and to avoid pacing issues. After all, pacing is key in this lesson in order to meet the objective.
At the end of each review, I will have them spend 2 minutes sharing (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a) a specific revisions that must be made in order for the essay to be more effective. Although my students will have the written version of their peers' comments, I think it is important to hear some of it as well because they can key in on very specific parts of their essay right away.
At the end of the lesson, I will ask my students to write a short response noting the corrections they think are most important in presenting a final draft (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.10). They must base these corrections on the peer feedback they received.
The only concern I have for today is that the peer review process is only as effective as the reviewers. In the past, students have not put much effort in their peer reviews because I did not have them spend significant time on it. We are spending an entire period revising and editing, so I need for them to see that it is important and really use this time to provide a laser focus on their revision assignment.