When students talk about their ideas for writing, they often exhibit spark, personality, and pizzazz, expressing interesting ideas fearlessly and creatively. Yet the writing they submit lacks this same enthusiasm and originality. They have the ideas, but what happens between that talk and the written draft?
Jeff Anderson and Debbie Dean provide a practical framework for smoothing the space between ideas and drafting in their new book, Revision Decisions. Starting at the sentence level, Jeff and Debbie show you how to create learning experiences where students discover and practice the many options available to them as writers.
The heart of the book is a series of ten lesson sets with printable handouts that will give your students a repertoire of revision techniques using elements such as serial commas, interrupters, and sentence branching. A key part of the lessons is talk—collaborating in small groups on revision decisions and developing a writer’s vocabulary in whole-class discussions.
Revision Decisions helps teachers engage their students in the tinkering, playing, and thinking that are essential to clarify and elevate writing. You can now preview Chapter 1, “Revision Decisions Are Possible: Actively Processing to Develop Options for Revision.”
Kate Messner, author of the Stenhouse book Real Revision, as well as The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. readily admits this secret: “My first drafts are not pretty.”
And they shouldn’t be!
In our two-part conversation with Kate, she pulls back the curtain on the process of writing Real Revision — and writing and revising in general. She says that it’s really important for kids to know — and see — the process real writers go through before their books end up on the library shelf.
Franki Sibberson at A Year of Reading writes that Real Revision is more than just a book of lessons about revision, but a book about creating a classroom where revision is valued. “I read a lot of professional books on literacy,” Franki writes. “I love so many of them but REAL REVISION totally wowed me. It is fresh and unique. It looks hard at the life of real authors and their process for revision and then looks at how to bring those authentic strategies into the classroom.”
Monica Edinger also reviewed the book on her blog, Educating Alice. She writes that “Kate knows the realities of teaching writing in this time of tests and standards, knows middle school kids, and knows firsthand the ups and downs of writing. She does a remarkable job connecting this all in a style that is pleasant, practical, and frank.”
Head over the Stenhouse site to preview the full book and then order your copy to add to your summer reading list!
You can hear Kate talk about her book in this recently recorded video podcast:
How can you make revision a relevant and engaging part of your writing instruction? Award-winning children’s book author and English teacher Kate Messner calls on her own revising experience as well as that of more than 40 other authors to bring you a trove of tips and techniques in her new book, Real Revision.
From creating the ideal revision environment and brainstorming to adding details and enlivening characters, Kate provides inspiration that you can turn to again and again as you work with students to improve their writing.
Throughout the book you’ll find profiles and quotes from mentor authors such as Jane Yolen, Rebecca Stead, and Katherine Erskine, 58 “Try It” lessons and exercises that will help you translate concepts into practice, and dozens of photos and writing samples.