Revision Meets the Road

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
criss-cross applesauce, Suzanne

Maybe it's just me, but I seem to believe that the best learning takes place on the floor.  Where else can you sort, compare, and compose with tiny bits of colored paper (another fave)?  I've been surprised by the number of times I find myself popping a squat on the carpet in my new role.  Thankfully, some things never change!

So, with this philosophy in mind, I tried to come up with a way to move revision south.  When students are asked to revised, either in their own writing or in multiple choice questions (don't get me started), the crux of it lies in organization and development.  Super!  So how do you teach that?!  I'd be lying if I said that I definitively knew.  But I do know that great power lies in conversation- looking at individual sentences, picking up on clues, thinking about what makes sense, word play without penalty.  It's with these things in mind that Revision Meets the Road was born!

So what is it?
Revision Meets the Road is a brief paragraph that is broken down by sentences.  The sentences are cut into strips (cue the tiny paper!), and students work together to put them together like a puzzle.  The conversation that ensues is gold!  Skeptical? Prepare to be amazed and part of the process.  During this time, students naturally pick up on clues in the sentences, namely transitional words and phrases.  They justify the placement of a piece to their classmates.  They are willing to take risks and make changes. (Because we all know that once it hits the page, students struggle to let it go!)  That's some heavy lifting, folks!  Is there a group you might need to be an honorary member of?  Isn't there always?!  Once students are pleased with their paragraph, they have the teacher check it before moving on to three open-ended revision questions based on STAAR question stems. 

A word about the teacher check: I've provided an "answer key" (oh yeah, a set of 10 of these ready-made puppies is available on TpT!), but like most things in ELA, it's not the be all-end all.  I've certainly allowed students to move on with paragraphs that didn't match mine.  Why?  They could justify it!

Students then work to answer three open-ended revision questions.  They sound like this:

  • What transition could be added...?
  • What does the pronoun __ describe?
  • Which is the topic sentence of the paragraph?
  • Which sentences should be combined?

In case you missed my subtle plug earlier, a set of 10 Revision Meets the Road activities is just waiting for you and your writers on Teacher Pay Teachers.

Let's get down and dirty! 


  1. Are there more Revision Meets the Road? I can always make my own, but if you have more, I'm interested.

    1. Hi Amy! I would be happy to make you more. Will you email me some specific skills or question stems you would like for me to target?