In May, many classrooms are doing a unit of study on revision. Actually, all classrooms should be discussing revision as a tool for their workshop. This time of year is when students reflect on what they know about revision no matter what genre they are writing. This is a great time to allow students to choose the genre they want to write and then incorporate the revision study with all those genres. I decided I would share with you some of the books I have used as help for me when I teach this unit or when I see children doing something that needs further study. Here are a few of my favorites.
The book: The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing by Judy Davis and Sharon Hill is one of my most used books. It has chapters on various units of study and it is easy to follow. There is also one chapter on revision. It is called: 'Mastering the Magic of Revision'. What a great way to think of revision. It is not a time that you have to go back and rip out and start over. It is a magical time to make your piece come alive.
Making Revision Matter is by Janet Angelillo. She is a favorite author of many in northeastern Indiana because she has visited and trained many of us. I have this book tabbed with loads sticky notes hanging out of it. First of all, she gives actually mini lessons that teachers can use from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. She also has a year long curriculum with ways to teach revision in various genre studies. As she takes the reader through the year she shows how to deepen the study of revision.
If you are always asking yourself: "How can I get my students to revise their writing?", then this is the book for you. The Revision Toolbox by Georgia Heard not only gives basic ideas on how to revise. She talks about how to get the students to know the difference between revision and editing. She uses three main toolboxes: words, structure, and voice. She also has a chapter on conferencing techniques just for revision.
I love this quote by Barry Lane: "Until a teacher promotes choice and responsibility among her students, the tools of craft this book has to offer won't help students become writers." This is the practical way Barry undertakes in writing After The End. His simple samples of ideas to use in inviting students to revise is so beneficial to teacher who do not have time to read whole books or even whole chapters to find what they need to teach. By simply picking up the book, opening to any page, there will be an idea for a lesson. Barry also encourages teachers to become writers themselves. "For years researchers like Donald Graves have done work to show that teachers who can model writing process through their own writing have a tremendous advantage in transforming their classroom into a community of writers." This is a challenge for teachers as they are looking forward to some "down time" in a few weeks. Take some time to become writers yourself. This is the best way to prepare for the fall and a new year with a community of writers!