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Revision Guides

This resource features video demonstrations of a teacher using sample student essays to model how to teach revision of literary essays and expository essays. Each lesson is followed by a conversation among educators about the revision demonstration.

Teaching students how to revise and improve their writing involves using writing samples in different genres to model and explain the revision process. As a result, students learn that revision is more than recopying in neater handwriting, running a spell-check, or changing a few words. They begin to look at their writing through the eyes of an author—focusing first on content (i.e., their development of ideas, organizational structure, and connections between ideas) and its effect on readers.

Download and print the handouts for this resource by clicking the button below.

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Locate the Writing Revision Guides set of handouts. These revision guides—literary, expository, analytical, personal narrative, persuasive, and expository summary—were created to help teachers and students think about the elements of a particular genre during the revision process. Each guide is a flexible tool that can be adapted to the needs of a particular writer and piece of writing.

Take a moment to review the handouts.

Literary Essay Revision

In this set of videos, a teacher models how to use a revision guide to revise a sample literary student essay with active participation from her students. Then, educators discuss the revision demonstration.

For the purposes of this video demonstration, the teacher will work with students to revise the whole essay—addressing many of the elements on the Literary Writing Revision Guide. Also, the suggested revisions to the essay will usually be displayed after they have been written or made.]  In an actual content area classroom, it is important to scaffold the revision process by (1) focusing on only one or two elements at a time, (2) modeling for students how to write or make the revisions to the original draft, and (3) providing several rounds of revision per essay over several class periods.

Locate the Sample Student Essay: Literary handout.

Have your Literary Writing Revision Guide also available.

As you watch the demonstration lesson, follow along on your copy of the essay. Make the suggested revisions and record any ideas, comments, or questions.

When you are ready, click play on the video below.

In the first video, the teacher helped her students use the revision guide to revise and make the beginning of the essay stronger. Think about how she reinforced the importance of "showing," rather than "telling."

Next, review the revision guide and place a checkmark beside what you think needs to be revised next.

When you are ready, click play on the video below. Remember to make the suggested revisions and take notes on your copy of the essay.

Now, review the revisions that have been made so far on your copy of the essay. Refer to the revision guide and think about what else might be added to strengthen the beginning of the essay.

When you are ready, click play on the video below. Remember to make the suggested revisions and take notes on your copy of the essay.

What events do you think might have happened after the Harpers fell in the river? Write your ideas.

When you are ready, click play on the video below. Remember to make the suggested revisions and take notes on your copy of the essay.

Review the elements of a strong ending on your revision guide. Think about what suggestions you would give to improve this part of the student's essay.

When you are finished, click play on the video below. Remember to make the suggested revisions and take notes on your copy of the essay.

Next, click play on the video below to watch a discussion of the revision demonstration. Listen carefully and think about how you would participate in the conversation.

Remember, it is important to scaffold the revision process in content area classrooms by focusing on only one or two elements at a time and providing several rounds of revision per essay over several class periods.

Even though many elements were addressed in the demonstration lesson, the essay could still be improved.

Look at your revised draft and the revision guide. What other elements would you encourage this student to address in later revisions? Write your thoughts in your teaching journal.

Expository Essay Revision

In this set of videos, a teacher models how to use a revision guide to revise a sample expository student essay with active participation from her students. Then, educators discuss the revision demonstration.

Locate the Sample Student Essay: Expository handout.

Have your Expository Writing Revision Guide also available.

As you watch the demonstration lesson, follow along on your copy of the essay. Make the suggested revisions and record any ideas, comments, or questions.

When you are ready, click play on the video below.

Review the revision guide. What element would you focus on to improve this part of the essay?

When you are ready, click play on the video below. Remember to make the suggested revisions and take notes on your copy of the essay.

Now, review the revisions that have been made so far on your copy of the essay. Did you notice how the teacher focused on developing the author's ideas in a way that clearly and logically supports the thesis?

When you are ready, click play on the video below. Remember to make the suggested revisions and take notes on your copy of the essay.

During this part of the demonstration, revisions to the first supporting paragraph resulted in the following:

"Laws help keep us safe in many ways. In cities, following the speed limits helps keep driving safe."

Take a few minutes to revise the following on your copy of the essay:

"And people will rob banks and steal supplies. The police will do nothing to stop this. Prisons will not exist with no laws. Technogly programs will be free. Money will be non use. Government with no power. And driving where ever you want."

When you are finished, click play on the video below. Remember to make the suggested revisions and take notes on your copy of the essay.

Now, use the revision guide to write a conclusion on your copy of the essay.

As you write, think about why you make certain choices, so you can better explain to your students the thinking behind the revision process.

When you are finished, click play on the video below. Remember to make the suggested revisions and take notes on your copy of the essay.

Now, click play on the video below to watch a discussion of the revision demonstration. Listen carefully and think about how you would participate in the conversation.

Think about the following questions and write your thoughts in your teaching journal:

  • How will the demonstration videos change the way you teach and incorporate revision in your content area classroom?
  • What are your thoughts about the way the teacher combined editing with the revision process in both demonstrations?