Revision is not easy. Even for the professionals among us, revision can be tricky. And teaching revision to young writer can be a real doozy! At WITS we practice stealth revision. That means that we break complex process of revision into parts and introduce those parts one by one. Here’s one example.


After a student finishes her story, ask her about the different emotions in the piece.  How would she describe the feeling that goes with each part?  Does she need to add any clarification?  If so, get her to mark the place in her draft with a cloud symbol.

Then, on a separate piece of paper, the student can draw a cloud symbol and write inside it what the character was feeling at that moment.  The “cloud” is for those times when you just might need to tell (rather than show).

It helps students to have a list of synonyms (cheerful, dejected, fuming, distraught, unruffled) for common feelings (happy, sad, angry, frustrated, calm).  If they keep this list in their writing folder, they can refer to it throughout the year, and you will notice richer language in their revisions.

Here is a second grader’s revision using the cloud technique:

cloud rev ex wits

-Marcia Chamberlain, WITS Houston

One Response to “Revision Strategy #1: Clouds”

  1. Tricia Bell

    This looks like a fun, nonthreatening way to teach revision. I want to know more! How did this child get the correct spelling of really? Did the writer box it initially b/c s/he suspected it was incorrect or did the teacher box it? Just now stumbling across this WITS program and would love info on teacher training. I’m a Dallas Montessori teacher (actually just returned from another workshop in Houston ;)). I’m interested in starting a creative writing camp at my school.


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