At the end of each writing unit I do with the students, I teach them that when writers are really excited about their work and their projects, they go back and they revise it to make it even better, and to make it clearer for their reader to be reading. So, to make that process even more engaging and fun for them they have a Revising Toolbox.
Inside the Revising Toolbox there's everything they would need to do to make their writing even better. Inside, they have little revising pens, which is always really fun and exciting for them because they never get to write with pens otherwise. There are scissors, there are Post-It Notes, and there are flaps, and we use the flaps to teach the students that not only do good writers revise the end of their piece to add more details, but they may want to add something to the middle of their piece.
In the first grade, the students often have a hard time with that concept because they don't want to erase and they don't know how to fit in extra information, so we teach them that all they have to do is add a flap to the side and the writing can continue off the page. Here is a sample of a student who did just that. Here was her writing, you can see that shes used the pens to change capitals and lower case letters, and then over here she added some extra detail to the middle of her piece by just adding a flap to it. Finally, we have a feedback page where the teacher, or myself, reviews the expectations with the students and then I use this to show the students what they've done really well and what their goal is to go back and revise one more time.
So, revising doesn't come naturally to first graders, they typically want to finish a piece, hand it in and they're done with it. So we really, really have to teach them and encourage them that revising is one of the best parts of writing, and that when they're really proud of a piece of their work, we go back, we make it even better, so that readers can then enjoy it just as much as they enjoyed writing it. So to begin with I always outline the goal for the students, so they're clear as to why they're going back and adding more detail or revising their work. And then specific things they can do to revise it and to show that they've gone back and they've considered all the different ways they can to improve it. They can add ideas to the end of their writing. They can add ideas, or a word they may have missed out, by adding a carrot to the middle of their story. They can add ideas to the middle of their story by using a flap and just sticking it on to the outside. I also tell the students that they can use juicy words, which are essentially adjectives to make their readers more interested in what they're saying so they can tell how many, what kind, what color, and use their five sense to really help describe what they're writing about.
The goal of Revising Tool Box: Understanding the Process of Writing (Virtual Tour) is to help students in understanding the various interacting stages of the writing process, including revising, and provide students with revising strategies and tools to help develop their writing.
- The Revising Tool Box helps make the process of revising fun and engaging.
- Include revising pens, scissors, post-it notes, and flaps for attaching new ideas in the tool box.
- Adding a flap to the side of their writing, allows students to add details in the middle of their work.
- Emphasize revising as adding details to the text or making the piece of writing more interesting by including new and interesting words.
- Use a feedback page during writing conferences to discuss strengths and next steps.