Monday, July 8, 2013

Revise, Revision, & Review

#HappyMonday! This one is a long for me. Just enjoyed a lovely four day weekend basically with family and friends over the 4th of July holiday, and I'm beginning the week with a full day. The UNCC Writing Project gets back into swing this morning around 8:30am-ish. We love our time together writing until about 3pm-ish, then I'm off to Hickory for my accelerated Masters Courses through Appalachian State. Yep, it's Reading Course time from 6pm to 10pm-ish before I head home to repeat tomorrow.

So to start of today at the Writing Project, I really got thinking about revising writing. I'll be honest...I'm not much of a reviser. I think it is boring...shhh! I think it is a little silly to reread a piece of writing that you just wrote, looking for things that are "wrong" with it. Isn't that basically what you are doing? Going back through and looking for mistakes that you would like to fix? Or looking for areas that you want to make stronger and clearer because they weren't up-to-par in the first place? My philosophy (don't tell my students) is that if I would have wanted it to be better...shouldn't I have wrote it that way in the first place?

Ok, that was a little harsh. I should apologize. I'm sorry. Revising is good. We began the day thinking about revising using Katherine Bomer's Writing a Life. After reading her writing about revision I think that revising can be helpful. Revising helps us grow as individuals and as a reflector of our ideas. I think reflection helps us become better in our selves as teachers, educators, and overall people. When we reflect, we analyze our own writing, teaching, and ideas. Therefore, we keep was works well and remove what doesn't. I think that revision is beneficial. 

Now with that being said, I think it is difficult to incorporate revision into the classroom. I have always ran into the problem of encouraging students to revise their own writing. "But Mrs. Stadler, I wrote what I wanted to say the first time." There have also been struggles in peer-revisions. "But Mrs. Stadler, they don't like me so they won't help me." Or, "But Mrs. Stadler, they are my best friend and like everything I say." So I guess my revelation for today (not as "Ah-Ha" momenty as the previous days; but still legit) is **Revision can be positive.** I think my revelation has a slight 'hold-it-just-a-minute' feeling though. How do we incorporate effective revision for our students? We met Cindy Urbanski today who has fabulous revision strategies and ideas that I would like to incorporate within my classroom this year (see them below), but are there other revision strategies, even peer ideas, that are used? Suggestions please :)

Finally for today I will share my Storify about my writing history. Just a little about me and how I came to enjoy writing. Then take a look at the wonderful comments left by my fellow #UNCCWP ers.

Until tomorrow... :)


  1. Wow, Sarah! What a long, busy day you had (are still having) today!! I hear you on revision. I don't think it's a habit I got into a lot as a writer. I remember in school, I wouldn't leave a lot of time for myself to revise and anything I changed was mostly surface-level editing (grammar and spelling or typos). I did like how we thought about the benefits of revision today and got specific techniques today. Good question about specific peer review techniques. I wonder how or if the techniques we saw today would be modified. Awesome storify piece too!

  2. I enjoyed reading your take on the day at SI. Revision to me is the most important part of the work. Ernest Hemingway revised Old Man and the Sea thirty-three times before he even sent it to his agent. My dissertation went through so many revisions I had trouble finding the final one. I think Carl Anderson in How's It Going writes some wonderful ways for working with students on revision and on their writing in general. It's written for elementary teachers, but I use it with my high aschool and college students.

  3. Sarah-I can't believe you're doing SO much lately! Gosh, I admire you. :)

    I'm interested to see if there is any overlap between your reading course and the writing project. If so, please share. I've been reading a few professional books on approaching reading differently and, with all the nuggets from this course, I feel as though I can't teach reading now without using writing as a way to gauge and express student understanding.

  4. Sarah,
    I agree making revision less boring is a key to motivating students to value its utility. How can we make writers care about what they write; or at least feel strongly enough to respond to writing revision viscerally, rather than just as another assignment.
    I haven't figured that out yet, but it seems to me from your blog that you inspire your students enough to do so.

  5. Sarah--I can't believe that you are doing so much! That is so amazing :) I was wondering the same thing as Kim--how are these two classes overlapping? Are they discussing things in the same way or are they really different? DO you see yourself applying things from SI to the class or vice-versa. AND do you have any blog posts on that class or materials that you are willing to share?!?