Revision Strategy #1: Clouds

Posted November 7, 2013 & filed under Lesson Plan, Notebook.

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

Top Poems and Posts for February 2008

Posted February 27, 2008 & filed under Notebook.


During the month of February, these poems by students received the greatest number of hits on A Poem a Day.

The Color Pink by Sarah
Ode to Poetry

And these posts on teaching creative writing were the most popular ones from this blog for the same period.

Tell Me About Your Heart
The Poetry Monster
Among the Antiquities
My First Book
Running for President

Your feedback is always welcome. If you have questions about teaching writing, feel free to leave them as comments below. We will make sure to keep them in mind in future posts.

(photograph by girlhula via flickr)