Students learn about the “craft” of writing during reviewing. Good writers review and rewrite text many times, making it more interesting, informative, and/or convincing. Explicit instruction, feedback from other readers, and ongoing support is the key to building reviewing skills.
Best Practices with Technology
Step 1: Provide Direct Instruction
- Teach strategies for revising and editing using mnemonics with support from tools (e.g.,DraftPad, DragonDictation, and PaperPort Notes).
Examples of revising and editing mnemonics
- ARMS (Add, Remove, Move, Substitute)
- COPS (Capitals, Organization, Punctuation, Spelling)
- CUPS (Capitals, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling)
- Embed QR Codes into student drafts with prompting questions such as:
- Did you include a main idea?
- Do the paragraph details support the topic sentence?
- Did you use interesting words?
- Do my sentences end with correct punctuation?
- Use podcasts, videos, and articles that illustrate and describe how published authors revise and edit so they understand the importance of reviewing their work several times.
Teach students to become fluent with handwriting, spelling, sentence construction, typing, and word processing.
Step 2: Help Students Write for a Variety of Purposes
- Teach students to collaborate as writers through peer editing using techniques like compliments, suggestions, and corrections. Monitor conferences, and re-teach skills to students who need more practice giving and receiving positive feedback. Ask students to reflect on their progress in developing these skills.
Strategies to support peer feedback
- After the writer reads his or her content aloud, the listener responds with suggestions for revising based on a checklist, prewriting plan, or other criteria.
- The draft can be divided into sections for easier active listening and feedback.
- After the writer self-checks for errors, the listener can review the draft for any errors missed by the writer.
- Make sure students know their audience and purpose and choose the appropriate text, considering form, structure, and features (e.g., a report, poem, story, or poster).
- On the class website or blog, keep a list of examples of strong texts that demonstrate features such as varied sentence structure, word choice, strong dialogue, and, for non-fiction, the use of graphs, pictures, headings, and captions.
Teach students to use the writing process for a variety of purposes.
Step 3: Engage Students in Ongoing Assessment
- Conference with students to help them focus on the qualities of good writing or solve a writing problem.
What to concentrate on during a student-teacher conference
- Identifying a student's needs by looking at his or her writing and asking questions.
- Providing instruction on a specific strategy or skill, such as word choice or sentence formation.
- Reviewing writing samples and other portfolio materials collected over time (including narratives, poems, drawings, semantic maps, webs, and other pieces).
- Use Author’s Chair to give students a chance to share their writing with the class. Have students videotape themselves discussing their writing and show it on the whiteboard. Classmates can ask questions and give each other constructive feedback, which can be recorded using a microphone and video camera. Always model and provide sample language first.
- Continue monitoring students’ peer-conferencing skills. Have students who need more practice with feedback watch a video about peer conference mistakes. Ask students to reflect on their progress in developing these skills, using a video camera to record conversations.