It is important for our students to create a final draft of writing for us to be able to assess. Also, creating a final draft helps really prepare our students for first grade. Most importantly though, creating a rough draft really provides students with the opportunity to 1) show their best, 2) be proud of themselves, and 3) realize the importance of good, quality work.
This is the fifth step in my Writer's Workshop, and it usually occurs on a Friday.
Prior to this lesson, students will have created a rough draft and will then have gone through the process of conferencing to create an edited draft.
I think it is important to really encourage students to jump into their rough draft with excitement and pride; therefore, I always give my class a pep-talk prior to writing their final drafts.
I do this when all of my students are seated on the carpet in front of me.
"Ladies and gentlemen... today is our final draft day! Can I get a woohoo?" (Students will chant, "woohoo!") "Woohoo is right! We have worked so hard all week to get this information about flowers written down and edited... and now, we are ready to write it one last time to make it absolutely perfect. Remember, our final drafts are the ones that we present to each other, the ones that we hang up in the hallway and the ones that our parents love to show other people and keep forever!" (wait time) "So, as you are writing about flowers, I want you to remember our important rules for final drafts..."
"Use precision with your writing; great handwriting makes our drafts easier to read. Make sure you copy all edits from your rough draft; you don't want to leave anything out that make your writing better! Finally, re-read your final draft to ensure that it is perfect; this is something you want to be proud of!" (wait time) "Now, go and write something to be proud of!
Students will go back to their seats and independently create their final drafts.
At this time, students know that there should be no talking, as they all really need to focus.
Students will use their rough drafts explicitly to transfer all information to their final drafts.
If needed, I will remind students that no opinions or extra ideas are to be added to final drafts.
I like to walk around and check on students as they are writing. Most of the time, I like to give encouragement and academic feedback whenever possible. A lot of the feedback that I give is about handwriting and using precision when copying from their rough drafts.
During this time, I can pull a small group of students with handwriting problems or misconceptions and help them out if needed. I can also pull individuals as well.
Here is a little more information about what I do while students are creating their final drafts.
When students have completed their final drafts, I make sure that they re-read their final draft so I am sure they are proud of it! Once students have read their final drafts, I let them draw an illustration to match and support their writing. I think that allowing students to add an illustration their final drafts really helps them extend their writing project and makes it a little more connected (and a little more fun)!
Also, I can continue students' publishing practice and allow them to type their final draft if there is time. Here is a good example of a student's typed final draft (that shows just how capable students are at typing great works)!
When students turn in a final draft, I assess it in three ways.
First, I look at the final writing product as a whole- How does it look? Is it complete? Did it cover the topic successfully? Can the student read it to me?
Then, I look at the rough draft (that has been edited), when compared to the final draft. I like to make sure that students implemented all (or very close to all) of the edits that we wrote up on their rough draft; the final draft should be close to perfect!
For this step, I like to use this Proofreading and Editing Checklist for Rough Draft and Final Draft Comparison.
Lastly, I like to make sure that students' illustrations, labels and captions clearly represent the ideas expressed through their writing. Final drafts should include a solid illustration, just like a good children's book!