Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Revising Strategy - Cut and Grow

There is something that I must admit.


I never liked writing when I was in school. And will admit that I have never been a good writing teacher. This year one of my goals was to become much better in preparing my fifth graders for wiring in middle school.

Over the summer I did a lot of reading and research on writer's workshop and I've taught so much more writing than ever before. I can already see growth in my students' writing. Although I am still not 100% comfortable with teaching writing, I know I am doing much more for my students in writing than I ever have before.

There is another confession to make.....

Until recently, I didn't know the difference between revising and editing.

Yep that's right. I went all the way through elementary, middle, and high school as well as college and grad school and 9 years of teaching without ever knowing the true difference between the two. I never truly understood the difference until this past summer.

The difference is so simple, I can't believe I hadn't learned by now.

Revise - Improving one's writing
Edit - Fixing one's writing

Last week I introduced the following anchor chart to my students. This visual helped them better understand the two concepts. I still need to teach several mini lessons on revising and editing, but I know this chart will continue to help them distinguish between revising and editing more easily.

I posted previously about a workshop I attended last summer. The workshop was presented by Margarita Calderon and provided reading and writing strategies to help English Language Learners, ELLs, better grasp the English language.

One of the strategies was called Cut and Grow. This strategy is a revising strategy that teaches students how to substitute sentences in their writing. Basically the writer selects a sentence in their paper that they would like to improve. They then get scissors and cut the selected sentence out of the paper. They then tape the top half of their paper onto a piece of construction paper and create an improved sentence to write on the construction paper. Once the sentence is written, they attach the rest of their paper.

This method provides a visual of how to substitute one sentence for another. This is valuable for ELLs because they can actually see their paper actually grow. The best part is that it can be done multiple times to show students that they can always continue to improve their writing.

Below are some examples from my classroom. Most of my students love cut and grow because they think they are doing an art project. (I meant to take pictures before I helped edit their papers, but I forgot so you will see my corrections in blue ink.)

Also, we were working on essays about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I know it is too early in the year, but my district always has an essay contest each year on Dr. King that have to be written early so they can do the awards banquet in January in celebration of his birthday.

These are by no means perfect, but I am so proud of my students' writing and the growth they have shown.

Using cut and grow to teach revising has worked wonders with my students. It is also the best strategy that I've learned to teach kids to do this.

What revising and editing strategies do you use in your classroom?