For Better or For Worse

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
folded AND drawn by Lori 

Foldables and good writing?! Sign me up! Today's foldable and instructional strategy is here to target not necessarily your reluctant writers, but your reluctant revisers. While I would love to take the credit for the following bit of humor, alas, I cannot. Gretchen Bernabei has often joked that for some reason once students write words on lined paper, it is as though a sacred marriage ceremony has occurred and students are forever wed to those words--for better or (unfortunately) for worse.

Use this strategy, along with Bernabei's revision icons, to show that good writers intentionally make choices before, during, and after writing. Make sure that you have led up to this revision lesson by teaching the icons as an authentic part of the writing process. Some of the icons are shown here, but there are many, many more!

Kernel Essay 
For the Revision Foldable, fold your paper hotdog (length-wise) but leave about an inch of space before you let the edges meet. Cut flaps. The number of flaps will depend on the structure you are using--and different students may be using different structures. 

You'll notice in the picture, that I have a kernel essay already written. If I want to move it to an essay, the structure is already there. However, for reluctant revisers the Revision Foldable helps them to make choices about the writing strategies they would like to use before, during, and after they write. 
Planned Revision Icons

Writing With Icons

Once students have fleshed out their ideas on the foldable, it is still in a non-essay like state, which makes them more willing to continue to make changes. When students are happy with their essays, have them make the choice to move it to paper. 

While I really like this strategy, I would be careful not to over-use it. It is good to use it to prove the point that good writing requires careful thinking, creativity, time, and revision. Once students see the impact on their work and buy into the idea of revising their writing, the Revision Foldable shouldn't be necessary. 

Use this foldable for your students who finish their essays in 5 minutes and swear that it's the best it possibly could be. 

Use this for kids in tutoring groups who have learned a revision strategy but who have never taken the time to use it.

Or, simply, use this for whole class instruction when you want your kids to see the power of good writing. You can eventually move away from the foldable and have students show you their intentional craft decisions simply by drawing the icons in their writing.

Check back tomorrow to see what other tricks we have up our sleeve! Oh yeah...and cling to August as long as you possibly can!

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