Using Writing Workshops to Revise
Lesson 13 of 21
Objective: Students will be able to produce clear and coherent argumentative writing with help from peers by participating in a writing workshop, making revision changes, and writing a final draft.
Today was Friday, so it was the day that students complete the paragraph as a test. Today, we did the test as a group test. I do this every once in a while. Not too often, so students don't say, "But we always do a group test every third Friday of every odd numbered month!" But every once in a while.
No student scored below a C with this group test. What I like about the group test is that it allows students to explain the answers and the reasoning to each other. It's the same thing I say, but it's coming from their peers.
The best part about today, though, was in one of my inclusion classes. One of my students who reads at a second grade level and says nothing in class unless you call on him and wait two or three minutes for him to respond, asked two different students for help. It took some time and prodding from me, but he asked. That's success.
Yesterday students wrote rough drafts. Today, they're giving and receiving feedback to make their writing stronger.
I used the students' clock appointments to divide students up. Since we've done this so often, students know what is required of them. They read each other's papers and write a revision love note to help their classmate's writing get better. In return, their partner will do the same for them.
The thing they needed the most help with is the format of the love note, so I put a slide up with the information in the picture. The first paragraph should be short ans sweet, just a thank you for allowing someone else to read their writing.
The second paragraph is where they would give specific feedback based on the specific questions I gave them.
The third paragraph is also short and sweet. It says thank you and lets the other person how they can get in touch with them if they have questions. This video shows seven students in three different groups sharing their love notes and reflecting on what they could improve.
Composing Final Drafts
The last thing students did was take the feedback they received and write a final draft. I gave students about fifteen minutes of classtime to write those final drafts. Some students finished and were able to turn them in before they left. Students who didn't finish needed to finish them on their own and turn them in the next day.
I asked students to turn in everything related to this project, from the handout they used to evaluate evidence, the outline, the rough draft, and the final draft. I like to see the progression of their work, and if I can count on the papers being in the same order, then it's easier for me. It also seems easier for students if there is a specific order. If I tell them I don't care, they get confused, concerned, and sometimes their heads explode.