6th grade--editing/revising essays? Strategies?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by d_anne5, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. d_anne5

    d_anne5 Rookie

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Ok, my 6th graders are about to start their fourth essay for the year. All in all, I think the writing process we teach in my district is effective. However, I feel like the students get tripped up over the editing/revising phase. I have a revising handout for them to complete, but I feel as if they blow through it and don't really take the time to revise their rough draft. Some do but most don't.

    Here's what I give them:
    G:\Travis\WFTF\Edit&Revise\Revision Work box sheet.htm

    They fill in the blanks but don't change anything. As much as I'd love to read through ALL 135 revision sheets AND their rough drafts, I simply don't have the time.

    They do edit their own essay. I remember trading/revising, but I don't remember at what age/grade I started that. I trust some students to do a good job revising another's essay, but I have SEVERAL students that I really don't trust to revise another's essay. I know that sounds horrible, but it's true.

    I know many people think that if a student gets another student's essay in their hands, they're more likely to do a better job revising that essay than their own. I really don't think that's the case w/ a lot of my kids. I'm talking about the inclusion and ESL kids. Some of them are so low that they have a blank face half the time in class. It's sad.:(

    So yeah, I'm not really sure how to go about editing/revising this time around. I'd like to switch it up, but I'm not sure exactly what to do.:confused: Should I revamp that editing sheet I gave the link to? Should I have a certain handful of people be "editors?"

    Any suggestions?
     
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  3. MsMaggs

    MsMaggs Comrade

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    Jan 25, 2009

    I couldn't get the link you posted... My fifth graders have trouble with editing/revising too. I do have them exchange papers to get another person to edit it (most do have another student in class, but I've also given them the option of having someone at home or outside of class edit it). They're not grasping the idea that the first draft will always have something wrong with it, something that needs to be taken out, or something that could be added to it to make it better and that is okay. I'm looking for suggestions too!
     
  4. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Jan 25, 2009

    I teach 7th grade, so I do not know if this would be helpful or not. We came up with the four criteria for an imaginative (or persuasive, expository, narrative) essay. Next, students use highlighters (or markers) to mark the area in a sample essay where the author has those pieces. After talking about it, students do the same thing to their own essays. It makes it blaringly obvious the pieces that need to be worked on. Students turn in all their work with the draft turned in to the teacher, but we only grade the top draft. We also try to stay away from saying "final draft." Students get the idea that no more revision/editing should be done after that.
     
  5. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 25, 2009

    Take a look at Teaching Adolescent Writers by Kelly Gallagher. He has some great ideas about teaching revision. You can get a preview by going to Amazon and using the "search inside this book" feature for revision. Gallagher teaches here in CA, and I've been lucky enough to attend a short workshop with him at a conference; he's quite wonderful!
     
  6. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Jan 25, 2009

    It is also important to emphasize the difference between revision and editing. Revision is taking a critical look at a piece and asking what needs to be added or removed? Organizationally, what needs to be changed?
    Editing is looking at spelling/grammar/mechanics. Kids, in my experience, are notoriously bad at doing this, and often end up doing more harm than good.

    When my students peer conference, they look at REVISION possibilities. I create forms based on whichever of the traits we happen to be focusing on and the kids look only for that particular thing. The more direction the you give, the better they will do. Also, be sure to model the process several times for the kids during think alouds. Seeing you work through a piece will give them more confidence in doing it themselves.
     

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