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Lesson Plan

Prompting Revision through Modeling and Written Conversations

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Prompting Revision through Modeling and Written Conversations

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Ashley Thesen

West Hartford, Connecticut


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



This lesson helps students become more comfortable with the revision process, both as writers responding to their peers and as writers engaged in revising their own pieces.  Once students watch authors Kate DiCamillo and Debra Frasier revise their own work through online videos, students develop a checklist to help them see what effective writers do to be able to create a well-developed piece of writing.  Students are then guided through the process of revising their teacher's work. Later, students communicate their ideas for revision of their peers' work through a written conversation so that peers can remember and reflect upon their thoughts.

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Effective Writers... :  This checklist provides new writers with specific suggestions ranging from grammatical accuracy to reaching an intended audience.

Effective Writers...Written Conversation Sentence Starters: These sentence starters help students to frame their thoughts in a peer review setting in order to provide constructive feedback to another writer.

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Teachers at all grade levels strive to get students to see revision as an integral part of the writing process rather than a hasty, perfunctory step added at the end (if there is time). This lesson focuses on the power of modeling, discussion, and conversation as tools to teach and promote qualitiy revision. Regie Routman warns teachers not to "underestimate the power of talk on writing quality.  Informal conversations among students as they write influences the amount and quality of revisions students are willing to make.  Conversations with others help students express their ideas more fully and make them their own" (184).

Because writers often need a concrete record of suggestions that come from such conversations, this lesson offers the alternative of written conversations. "In this kind of discussion," Rober Probst explains, "students write simultaneous notes to each other"¦Compare this kind of active, one-to-one exchange with standard "whole-class" discussions in which two or three kids monopolize the conversations (Me! Me! Me!) while everyone else sleeps with their eyes open.  When everyone is "˜discussing' with a partner in writing, then potentially everyone is engaged and acting upon the subject matter" (10).

Further Reading

Routman, Regie. 2005.  Writing Essentials: Raising Expectations and Results While Simplifying Teaching. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman.


Probst, Robert.  "Literature as Invitation."  Voices from the Middle.  8:2 (2000): 10.

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