Friday, December 30, 2011

The Color of Kings and Queens

Revision...what feelings does the word invoke?  Thinking back to my junior high, high school, and college years, revision was a necessary evil, not a joy.  (Sorry Mrs. Ascuena.)

I love how Lucy Calkins suggests teaching young writers about revision.  The message is plain and clear.  Revision is what happens when a writer loves their writing.  Regie Routman says, "When kids care about their writing, revising is no big deal."  What would happen if my young writers love their writing so much that it's an honor and a joy to revise?  Maybe they'd never view it as a necessary evil.  <crossing my fingers>  Wouldn't that make some English teachers happy?

(Our toolboxes contain revision tools, like tape and purple pens.)

Lucy Calkins suggests using purple pens when revising.  Purple is the color of kings and queens, and as you can imagine, first graders buy into this.  (Gotta love gimmicks!)  It's a smart move by Lucy.  It makes their revisions so easy to spot, both for me and for them.  When I confer, I can quite easily compare the first draft with their revision choices.  

Does their writing always get better when they revise?  Uhhh, no.  Sometimes they get a little scissor and tape happy and the piece loses its focus.  A conference or mini-lesson is most likely the appropriate tactic, but regardless, I still hold to the fact that they're learning it's okay to look again at a piece of writing.  Revising is not evil.

Here are some pieces that have been revised.  Their revisions are in purple, so I've used purple text for the revised parts in my translations.

Jackson G.
One Wednesday morning it was cold.  We were on my grandpa's boat.  Grandpa said, "Let's fish."  "Okay," said Jackson.
Grandpa caught a big fish.  There are a lot of fishes.
Jacob caught a bigger fish.  It was 41 pounds. It was the biggest fish we have ever seen.

One sunny morning I went to the BMX track.  It was scary because I was 3 years old.
I crashed. I was bleeding very bad.
My grandma said, "Are you okay?"  My grandpa came to help me to get in the car.

One cold Tuesday morning my mom and I set up the Christmas tree.  I said, "Can I help?"  "No."
We put a star on.  It was sparkly.  "I like it."  "Me too."
Mom took the star  off.  It was too big.  "I agree."
We decorated it.  "It's cool," mom said.  "It is!"

One sunny day me and my dad went on a bike ride.  It was fun.
I almost tripped on the cement.  It was scary.
I tripped on my bike.  I cried.  My dad and mom came and my dad picked me up and put me on the couch and put cartoons on for me.  Then I was feeling better.  My head was hurting.  Then I can ride my bike again.

I was riding my scooter.  I was going really fast and I was getting wobbly.  I said, "Whoa."
I fell down.  I was bleeding.  "Waa, Waa," I said.  "My knee hurts."
My mom came.  She gave me a Band-Aid but it still hurt.

I sure pray they always have this much love and respect for their writing.  It's an honor to revise, whether using the color of king and queens or not.
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  1. Starting students off with the idea that revising is fun and that it makes their own writing even better is great! Love it!

  2. Thank you for reading Lori! I think you and I would have a good time teaching in the same building.

  3. I completely agree! We could collaborate and bounce ideas off each other. Would be great! :)

  4. What a great idea! It's a wonderful way to reinforce that writing is a process and even if all the space is filled- there's still more work to do!

  5. I agree Miss Moore! Thanks for reading.

  6. I am your newest follower! Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog--I am thrilled to find your piece of the Blogosphere. You are a terrific writer!

    The growth in writing between kindergarten and first grade always amazes me. What advice do you have for me, a kindergarten teacher, regarding writing skills? Have a happy new year!


  7. Hi Chrissy! Thank you for joining my little world over here and leaving a sweet comment as well. You've made my day! Are you familiar Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Primary Writing? I've included a link if you're not. It's kind of pricey, but cheaper copies can be found. I'm not a big proponent of "programs" but Lucy's got a good thing going on here. Aside from having a good plan like Lucy's to work from, if I were king of the jungle, I'd want kindergarten kids to write every day in a writer's workshop format, writing about their own lives and chosen topics. You probably already do all that!