revision

Honoring Dialect and Culture: Pathways to Student Success on High-Stakes Writing Assessments

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Author: Michelle Crotteau

Summary: As teachers we often struggle to find ways to honor our students’ home dialects while still preparing them to take high stakes writing tests requiring the use of Standard English. In this piece, the author describes her three-pronged approach within a Writing Strategies class to work with students in danger of not receiving diplomas because they had failed the state test. Students developed linguistic and mechanical fluency by speaking and writing about their interests (e.g., hunting), drawing upon their Appalachian English dialect, and developing knowledge about how to recognize audience-appropriate situations for employing both Standard English and their own dialect. Lots of examples of student writing coupled with her own rationales and experience make this a useful piece for workshops, study groups or professional development focused on culturally relevant practices within a high stakes testing environment.
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Preaching What We Practice

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Author: Shelbie Witte

Summary: In what ways do teachers of writing use revision in their own writing? How do digital writing environments impact revision and its instruction? What are teachers’ perceptions of revision in their own writing and in writing instruction in the classroom? Shelbie Witte’s research investigated these questions among teachers who participated in National Writing Project summer institutes and contributed to the NWP E-Anthology. This insightful and accessible article on revising practices and habits can become a part of any writing teacher’s repertoire about best instructional choices for student writers based on teachers’ own writing practices.
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Collaborating to Write Dialogue

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Author: Janis Cramer

Summary: By engaging children in a collaborative workshop environment to help them learn to develop characters, consider word choice, and interweave dialogue and description, the author simultaneously helped her students to strengthen social and independent writing skills. Opportunities to perform their dialogues in front of the class were also a component of this authentic experience in writing narratives. This article provides vivid details and examples of student writing and could be a useful resource for professional development related to hands-on approaches to writing as process.
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Puny Poetry Meets Its Match

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Author: Gerri Ruckle & Jim Horrell

Summary: What can we do when confronted with the challenge of helping young poets develop an awareness of the expressive power of poetry as opposed to rhyming lines that that often convey little meaning? By sharing a series of scaffolded strategies illustrated with multiple examples of student writing, the authors tell the story of how they changed their teaching and supported students in exploring poetry and creating sophisticated works of self-expression. Excellent ideas for professional development related to teaching poetry within a reading/writing workshop approach.
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Seeing Academic Writing with a New “I”

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Author: Rebecca Feldbusch

Summary: How often do we tell our students (or ourselves) that making personal connections will strengthen their writing, and yet when it comes to academic writing warn against employing the evil “I”? In this essay, Rebecca Feldbusch pushes back against the strong admonitions of teachers across the disciplines to avoid first person for fear that, in spite of evidence to the contrary, they will be scored harshly on high stakes testing. As part of a professional development session or study group, this essay could provoke productive dialogue and inquiry around grammar, conventions, and other long-held beliefs about writing.
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Oakland Writing Project’s Literacy Webinar Series: Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces with a Focus on Revision

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Summary: In partnership with the Oakland School District, the Oakland MI WP developed and hosted an online webinar series focused on revision. Links to all of the webinars, resources, and related readings for the 2015-16 series (Revision: the Heart of Writing) and 2014-15 (Reading and Writing in Digital Spaces) are available here. The strong line-up of presentations gives a deep look into both revision and digital literacy. Individual webinars could be great additions to professional development sessions that have a revision or digital literacy component. Additional workshops and webinars are also posted on this site.
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The Five-Paragraph Theme Redux

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Author: Elizabeth Rorschach

Summary: What are the constraints of teaching the five-paragraph essay? Rorschach argues that its preset format can lull students into nonthinking conformity and questions whether struggling writers need such a format to be successful. Dive into this provocative piece, complete with student writing excerpts.
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Beyond the Five-Paragraph Theme

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Author: Glenda Moss

Summary: After teaching the five-paragraph essay early in her career, Glenda Moss now describes how it locks students into thinking it is the only way to write. By sharing her journey as she moves into teaching college writers, she shares the limitations of the five-paragraph essay, how it inhibited critical thought, and how it restricted access to multiple genres. Because this form of writing is still prevalent, this article could be a helpful segue to help teachers or teacher groups discuss how to approach writing instruction.
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30 Ideas for Teaching Writing

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Summary: This resource offers successful strategies contributed by experienced Writing Project teachers. Readers will benefit from this variety of eclectic, classroom-tested techniques. These ideas originated as full-length articles in NWP publications (a link to the full article accompanies each idea below). This resource can be offered to summer institute or school-partnership participants as they collect ideas to enhance their writing instruction or as possible teacher study group topics.
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A Cure for Writer’s Block: Writing for Real Audiences

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Author: Ann Rodier

Summary: This teacher describes how she connects as a writer to a student whose drafts begin to find a real audience. By guiding student writers toward an authentic purpose for their writing, young authors can see themselves as professional writers. Use this narrative as a hook to bring teachers together to discuss ways authentic audiences can propel students toward meaningful writing.
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