What Revisions Will You Make?

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SWBAT: Make revisions to the animal paragraphs.

Big Idea

Today, my students will reread their paragraphs with "new eyes" in order to make decisions about which details to keep and which to discard. How will their paragraphs read after their revisions?


10 minutes

Summary and Context

Today, I will engage my students in the revision process. They will revise the paragraph they wrote about animal traits.

The revision process can be complicated at this grade level, because students need to be taught specifically what to revise. When working with English Language Learners, I make the process as concrete as possible. So today, I will teach my students about rereading their piece with "new eyes." We will specifically hone in on whether the facts we used to develop our paragraphs are important and relevant to the main idea.

I will model the revision process and show them how to use a checklist. Then, students will work independently to rewrite. Afterwards, they will have the opportunity to share their revised pieces with their peers.

Lesson Opening

I share the objective with my students. Then, I review the revision process. I draw their attention to the revision chart we have used in the past.

Today, we will add the concept of reading their paragraphs with "new eyes." I explain that this means to read their work as if it were their first time seeing it. To help make this concept concrete, we will use props: paper masks with different types of eyes. Students will choose a set of eyes to cut and use for rereading.

Preparing Our "New Eyes" for Rereading

10 minutes

I feel it is important for students to make their own set of "new eyes" props. It helps my English Language Learners bridge the gap between concrete and abstract, and reinforces the concept they will practice..

I give each student a sheet of thick construction paper with several sets of "eyes" copied onto it. I have included a PDF of the eyes printout in the Resources. Students can choose the set of eyes they wish to use when rereading their paragraph.

When students are done cutting, they bring me their set of eyes, and I staple them onto a craft stick to make a mask. This becomes the tool they use to reread their paragraph.


Modeling the Revision Process

12 minutes

Before I start modeling the revision process with my model wolves paragraph, I offer students a few general guidelines about revising:

  1. It's okay if the first draft is not pretty.
  2. Revision can take place any time, and any number of times.
  3. When we revise, we need to revise with a specific purpose.

Today's purpose will be to keep the paragraph to 5–7 sentences. Many students wrote more than that, so they will need to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard. I want students to keep only the most important, relevant facts.

I proceed by rereading my paragraph with my "new eyes." I tell students that before they change anything, they should reread their paragraph through at least once.

To help students figure out what to keep and what to discard, I model how to use the writing checklist. The checklist includes seven different sentences each paragraph should include. I think aloud to model how to make sure that each fact is specific, important, and relevant. I keep important facts, and delete unimportant or off-topic ideas. I model how to use the checklist to add any facts that may be missing.

I also use the revision chart and model how to ask myself if each sentence makes sense when read aloud. If the sentence does not make sense, I change the words and structure until it does. 

Students Revise Their Paragraphs

20 minutes

Now my students work independently to revise their paragraphs. I have handed out a copy of the checklist that each student can fill out as they revise. My students also have different colored pens in their boxes. I ask them to choose one color to make their revisions.

I walk around the room during the first moments to make sure students read their paragraphs before they begin revising.

To make sure they understand how to use the checklist, I continue circulating, and listen as they revise according to the list

There is a group of students who need one-on-one support: after reading the first draft of their paragraph, I believe these students will need help in order to make decisions and revise. I call these students to the round table one at a time for fully supported work. To keep other students in the group busy, I ask them to read a book until I am ready to work with them.

Rewriting Their Paragraphs

20 minutes

When students are done revising their paragraphs, I ask them to bring them to me. I review each student's revisions and give him or her the green light to rewrite the revised paragraph on a new, clean sheet of paper. I make sure students know where the paper is, so they will not have to interrupt me if I am working with a student who still needs guidance on the revision process.

I tell students that if they finish before the allotted time, they can illustrate their paragraph. This keeps them busy and on-task.

I have included several examples of students' revisions in the Resources.

Sharing with the Whole Group

10 minutes

My students now share their revised paragraphs with their peers. In sharing, students get the opportunity to reflect on their learning and feel validated. Also, it gives them the chance to practice their academic language and improve their speaking and listening skills. I have included several video examples of student sharing in the Resources.

After each student has had a chance to share, we close the lesson with some feedback. This is the system I use to keep feedback constructive and focused:

  • Two Stars: Two different students share what they specifically like about the content of the writing.
  • A Wish: Another student shares specifically how he or she thinks the writing can be improved.