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My tenth grade students have been immersed in the writing process this week. Their task is to complete a persuasive research essay, but we took our time, focusing on the steps writers can take to revise their essays.  They started with an outline and a draft, and then each day I presented mini-lessons on things like using transitions, varying sentence lengths, word choice, etc.

Learning stations slow students down and make for far more effective revisionToday, they came to class with a hard copy of their latest drafts and spent that class at revision stations. I numbered the students off and sent them to their first station (order didn't matter). At each station, they found various task cards that instructed them to focus on a different area of their essays. I also provided post-it notes that they could chose to use if they needed more room to write. In these photos, you can see students working on embedding quotations, sentence variety, strong verbs and sentence openings. 

My plan was to give them ten minutes at each station, and then have each group move clockwise to the next station. I soon found that not everyone was ready to move at the same time, so they just moved on their own, whenever they had finished their tasks. I was very proud of the focus I saw. The students took their tasks seriously and made many notes to themselves about revisions they will make at home later.  They loved that the stations slowed the process down, allowing them to focus on one element of their writing at a time. It was also a wonderful opportunity for differentiated learning, as I could sit with individual kids and instruct them in the areas they needed to work on (I answered a lot of questions about in-text citations!)

Learning stations are perfect for peer revision
Once every one had spent time at each station (it took about 40 minutes), I asked them to decide which station represented an area where they felt they needed to do the most work -- Were they unsure if their topic sentences were focused enough? Did their writing flow? Were they using the best words? Once they decided, I asked them to go back to that station, and to get a partner to read their essay, focusing on that particular element for feedback. The discussions that followed were amazing: focused, detailed and very constructive. We repeated the process with a second element.

All in all, it was a great day.  The students left with lots of work to do before they create their good copies, and I left with high hopes for some engaging reading next week when they come in.

You can check out my stations HERE.

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  1. What's your favourite strategy for getting students to focus on the revision process?

  2. For me, it has always been stations with peer and teacher conferencing, but providing LOTS of models (which are not so easy to find - ideas other than using past examples from students?)
    I bought your learning stations bundle and got an update today that you'd added another part - the 'planning' stations. SO grateful I didn't have to purchase separately. This is a GREAT product and perfect timing for me. Thank you for your work and sharing.

    1. You are so welcome! I hope you get to read some amazing essays as a result.

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  4. Hi Room 213, I wonder if you could share how the students' essays turned out. Were you pleased with how the stations affected their final drafts? Did you see evidence of that learning in other essays/short pieces they produced without repeating the stations (I don't think that's bad, just wondering if the experience stuck with them)? Thanks!

    1. I've used this many times, Carin, and it always makes a big difference in the essays. First of all, I can see the changes the students are making as I circulate when they are revising, and, because I take in their drafts, I can see the results there as well. The long term result is that I hear them use the language of revision as they work on their writing in class too. They know that I expect them to work on the process, so they can't get away with just doing a "final" draft at the last minute.


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