Day Eleven–All about Revision

What We Did to Prepare for Today

For today’s class, we were supposed to read two pieces on revision—one by Elbow and another essay by Straub—both of which can be found on Blackboard under Readings for Week 5. Additionally, we were to provide feedback on our group’s TIB essay, using the concepts from both articles, and post them to our group’s Google docs before the start of class.

Snacks make for a productive (and happy) class!

What Happened in Class

Dr. Benko gently reminded us to set aside time to work on our midterms and to use the suggested schedule on Blackboard as a guide; she suggested we work on the task and the outline and that the rubric would not be as time consuming.

Then we opened today’s google doc and did a quick write reflecting on our feedback and how it related to the readings we did for today’s class. We wrote for about five minutes and then moved on to partner work. We used Google docs to brainstorm the typical words that come to mind when it comes to traditional teacher feedback and then we thought about the kind of feedback that Straub and Elbow advocate for.

Here’s a link to the Google Doc:

Also, here’s the link to the Google folder with our revisions:

Things we noticed about the readings (heavily paraphrased):

  • Benji noted that students should have ownership of their work–teachers should not spell out everything for students when it comes to revising papers, students should learn to revise their own work.
  • Erin agreed with Elbow that teachers should read students’ entire essays before making comments or suggestions–instead of marking as we go.
  • Cassie mentioned that it is up to the teacher to create an easy going environment where students see the teacher as a reader and not just the person determining the grade.
  • There was some disagreement between Brittany and Emily about whether teachers should mark on students’ papers. On one hand, it seems disrespectful to write all over the paper. On the other hand, it is physically easier to mark on the paper when giving feedback.
  • Kayla really liked the point about asking students to interpret the feedback the teacher gives; it helps the teacher improve their feedback.
  • We also noticed that comments written by teachers on papers can be confusing or unclear. Dr. Benko suggested audio feedback as a way to respect students’ work and to make their feedback clear. This approach allows the teacher to speak to students as a reader of their work and to give the students an idea of their thinking process.
  • Finally, Kaleb made the point that revision needs to be a balance of both the facilitative and directive approach, arguing that students need to know about grammar and mechanics.
  • Dr Benko made the point that we need to revise for both grammar and ideas. She argued that there is a big difference between revision and editing. Revision is a way to re-see the content or the ideas in the writing. Editing is all the grammar and mechanics. Editing has no place in first drafts of writing because it may scare away reluctant writers.


Our Wordles

Next up, we discussed the common words we used when describing teacher feedback. Rachel used our words to create a Wordle:

Words associated with traditional teacher feedback


Our other Wordle on what Srauss and Elbow advocate for:

Feedback Straub and Elbow advocate for


Final Tasks

We then talked a little about the word clouds and the differences we noticed between the two. The big difference was the word collaborative: this goes back to the idea in Strauss and Elbow articles that the ownership of the work belongs to the student and it is the teacher and student collaborating. Traditionally, the teacher is usually seen as the person who judges the writing and gives out the grade.

Dr. Benko made a good point about scaffolding and its connection to creating an environment where there is a peer dynamic between the student and the teacher. The teacher should have the right demeanor in order for students to feel comfortable approaching the teacher for feedback and suggestions.

We also had a short discussion on using word clouds (Wordles) in our classrooms. It is easier to see the words and similarities and this is a tool that helps with discussion. They are good for summary or synthesis. There are settings within the tool to correct for different uses of case.

Finally, we got into our writing groups and read our feedback for our This I Believe essays. We then filled out a chart using examples of helpful feedback and then connected that feedback to ideas in the readings for today. We also talked in our groups about our drafts and discussed any questions we had about their feedback.

After we did this, Dr. Benko talked about a few of her observations about our revisions. She noticed that we had some different approaches: some of us made comments at the beginning of the drafts, or the end, some highlighted texts and made comments on the side, while others wrote notes to the authors. Overall, she noticed that our comments were both nice and filled with useful suggestions for the author. On a practical level, it may not be possible to leave detailed feedback on every assignment. Students can help with feedback by working together in groups and the teacher can limit in-depth feedback to one draft.

Additional Revision Information:

Here’s an article I found on Edutopia about “Glossing” which is another revision method for students:

More tips for student revision (also from Edutopia):


Looking Ahead for Next Time:

  • For Day 12, Please read Chapters 1 & 2 in Crafting Digital Writing by Troy Hicks. This is one of our textbooks and won’t be available online!
  • Also read “No longer a luxury: Digital Literacy can’t wait” from Hicks and Turner. This is available on Blackboard under Readings, week 6.
  • This I believe essay and Podcast is due October 6th!
  • Continue to work on Midterm drafts. Please keep in mind that Dr. Benko will be “off the grid” over Fall Break, so go to her early if you have questions!









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