Revising an Argument With Revision Writer's Workshop Interviews

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SWBAT improve their writing by collaboratively working to revise their argument.

Big Idea

Revision is key!

Revision Interviews

25 minutes

Revision takes many different forms in my classroom.  Today, we are having revision workshop interviews.  Each student has a partner.  I ask students to label themselves as either A or B so that I can give specific instructions to one group at a time.  I tell the A group that they are going to be the interviewer first.  Here are the instructions,

A Group, you are going to interview first.  You need to ask B for their prompt.  Spend two minutes reading it.  Now, B, explain the prompt and what you understood.  Good.  Now, A, I want you to spend three minutes reading B's paper.  Now we start the interview.  You will have seven minutes to ask B the questions on your interview list.  You are welcome to ask any additional questions you would like (SL.9-10.1c).  As the interviewer, your job is to help the B student understand their paper, identify their argument and find places where they can strengthen writing as needed (W.9-10.5)

Interview Questions:

  Read me your claim.  Does claim say what you want it to say?

  Does your thesis provide your reader with some sense of the paper's structure?

  Does the paper deliver what your thesis promises to deliver?

  Look back at your outline. Is each point in your outline adequately developed?

  Is each point equally developed? (That is, does your paper seem balanced, overall?)

  Is each point relevant? Interesting? What is the most relevant point you made?

  Does each paragraph have a topic sentence that clearly controls the paragraph?

  Have you really presented an argument, or is your paper merely a series of observations, a summary?

  Do you see any holes in your argument? Or do you find the argument convincing?

  Have you dealt fairly with the opposition?

  Is your conclusion appropriate, or does it introduce some completely new idea?

Each partner gets 10 minutes total.  


Immediate Reflection

5 minutes

Now it is the students' time to work on revision.  I tell them,

Now that you have read a partner's essay, you've defended your own, you've challenged a partner's and you've thought about good writing, I want you to spend some time thinking about how you can improve your writing.  For five minutes, I want you to write yourself a letter that explains all of the ways you can improve your letter.  Be specific and don't stop writing for five minutes (W.9-10.10) 

Now Revise

20 minutes

Students now have time to work and revise their writing.  I tell them:

 Now you get to revise your letter.  You have 20 minutes remaining  in class to get started on it.  If you don't get finished, take it home, finish it and bring it back tomorrow.  Good luck!

I make sure to give them time to get started in class.  I don't want to run out of time, rather I want them to have opportunities to immediately work while the revision is still fresh in their minds.