Days 13 and 14 (Wednesday, Sept. 24 and Friday, Sept. 26)
complete the letter workshop
discuss, practice, and plan revision of their Letters
Connection to Course Goals. Discussing revision and revision planning situates writing as a rhetorically-centered process, which should help students succeed on their Letter assignments.
You don’t have a whole lot to do to prepare for these classes other than deciding which revision activities you want to present to your class on which days. Organize and arrange the activities according the needs of your particular class.
Revision activity materials (in case students finish workshop early)
Students have read about the writing process and they may have worked more on workshopping their peers’ Letters.
Attendance and introduction (2-3 minutes)
Begin class by letting students know how much time they’ll have to finish workshopping.
Finish workshop (you determine the time)
Allow students time to finish the group work and to return everything to the writers.
Allow students time to read through the comments their peers made on their drafts and to ask questions if necessary.
Transition. Write a transition here that connects this activity to the next one.
Revision activities (you determine the time)
Depending on how much time your students need to finish workshop, design two (or three or four) activities that will show what revision can mean.
Discuss the textbook reading first, reminding students that “in practice, a writer’s process rarely follows the simple, consecutive order that these four stages [collecting, shaping, drafting, revising] suggest.” Ask students to describe their writing processes up to this point. Use Neil Petrie’s “Athletes and Education” along with his postscript as a reference point—would students describe their process similarly?
Then focus on revision, which seems to be the often-overlooked aspect of the writing process. Are there ways in which students have already revised? There probably are—we “re-see” some things as we write. Show students some revision methods. Here are some ideas (draw on your own experience as a writer-who-revises as you decide which activities to do):
Work through question #4 on page 49 to see what it means to revise for a different audience (some of your students may need to do this if they have not targeted their audience carefully).
Give students some blank paper (unlined) and ask them to write a troublesome passage on it in a way that will enable them to see it “new” (perhaps they write it in large letters, or in cursive, or they ask a peer to write it for them).
Read a paragraph aloud several times for students, and then ask them to rewrite it. They can do this for each other, too.
Allow students time and space to read aloud parts of their paper (or to have a peer read it aloud) so they can hear the language rather than see it.
Tip. You’ll need a bit of time at the end of class to allow students to write out revision plans and to review the assignment sheet before sending them off.
Transition. Write a transition here that will help students move from the revision activities into quietly writing their own revision plans.
Revision plans (as time allows)
Allow students time to get their revision ideas onto paper so they can remember them this weekend when they sit down to revise. Revision plans can include whats (“connect more with my reader”), as well as hows (“quote more from Specter’s article before I ask him questions”). You might ask a few students to explain their revision plans to the class.
Review the assignment sheet and conclude class (if time)
To end class today, ask students to reread the assignment sheet and to ask you any questions they have. Be sure students know what they will need to turn in next time, and remind them to use a folder to contain all of the process work.
Conclude class in a way that keeps students motivated to revise their letters.
Homework for Monday
Revise your Letter. Print the final version and bring to class in a folder with [insert your requirements here—remind students of policies regarding late work, grading, etc.].
Connection to Next Class
Next time, students will turn in their revised Letters along with any other materials you specified, and then you will work on developing inquiry questions that students want to explore further in Phase 2. Between now and Monday, clean up the inquiry list and begin thinking of ways to categorize the questions.