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How to Revise an Essay: A High School Writing Lesson Plan

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/17/2012

Evaluating writing is the first step in the revision process, so why don't students do it? They don't know how...until now.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Focus on Clarity

    Before writing the final draft, strive for clarity of expression by evaluating the following:

    1. Does each paragraph contain a topic sentence?
    2. Does it follow the rules for a good topic sentence?
    3. Does the writing create interest by using specific nouns and verbs instead of adverbs and adjectives?
    4. Are technical terms defined?
    5. Do most sentences begin with the subject close to the beginning?
    6. Do sentences vary in length?
    7. Is your writing free from ambiguities?
    8. Is it focused on purpose and audience?
  • slide 2 of 4

    Evaluating Writing: Development Issues

    Writers often spend too much time on side issues and too little time on the main issue.

    • Suggestions for Adding Material:
      1. Use an anecdote or a funnel paragraph in place of a one sentence introduction.
      2. Explore the history of the topic in your introduction.
      3. Assess the importance of the topic.
      4. Make additional points in the body.
      5. Use illustrations and examples.
      6. Expand the conclusion
    • Suggestions for Deleting Material:
      1. Put paragraphs into an outline and eliminate superfluous words.
      2. In short essays, limit introductory materials to the bare essentials.
      3. Eliminate lengthy anecdotes and needless examples.

    *Thanks to Schaum's Guide on Writing Great Essays for helping me revise my essays

  • slide 3 of 4

    Publishing

    Writers often forget the last step in the writing process, publishing.

    1. Check for spelling and punctuation errors.
    2. Check the format.
    3. Check the works cited.
    4. Make sure it's neatly typed, printed, and spell checked.
  • slide 4 of 4

    Procedures

    Now that you've improved your writing, it's time to teach others:

    1. Instruct students to copy the above information on evaluating writing.
    2. Instruct students to evaluate one of their own essays and write a paragraph evaluation of it, with specific examples.
    3. Arrange students in groups of 3-4.
    4. Have each person in the group do the same for each other's essay.
    5. Instruct students to redo the essay based on their evaluations.

    Sometimes it's beneficial to evaluate a published essay from an accomplished author:

    1. Read a published essay in class.
    2. Instruct students to evaluate the essay in paragraph form, making special note of good essay writing.