Several teachers using the Narrative Writing Task Lesson Cycle I posted previously have found that students need more work on revising their drafts.
As we talked through how best to support revision efforts, we came up with a checklist of mini-lessons divided into three rounds of focus. Coherence and clarity should be your first priority. As noted below, the first phase emphasizes answering the question properly (because if students don’t do this, nothing else will matter) and writing coherent sentences. The second phase extends the push for coherence. The third phase aims for more sophistication.
You might not need to deliver whole-class mini-lessons for everything. As you monitor students’ writing, you can identify needs and decide whether to form a small group or do whole-class reteach on the needed item(s).
PS: Students may need support with keyboarding skills—e.g., how to capitalize, indent, or insert quotation marks. In addition to direct instruction on such key points, I recommend www.play2pass.com for free keyboarding practice games.
Here’s the checklist:
Phase 1 [First round of revisions, most important stuff]
- Consistent use of proper POV [POV prompt]
2a. Faithfully retells the original story (OK to add more, but don’t take away from the plot). [POV prompt]
2b. Effectively extends the original story using information from that original story [Extending the story prompt]
- Proper sentence structure (no run-ons or fragments)
Phase 2 [Second round, also important]
- Dialogue format (indenting and punctuation)
- Effective use of transitions
- Sensory details
- Strong vocabulary
Phase 3 [Third round, nice to have]
- Figurative language
- Catchy hook
- Punchy ending
Many thanks to Matt Strippoli and Molly Wagner at Red Bank Charter School for their ideas and input on the checklist!