This lesson plan reviews the steps for using Revision Assistant in a two-day assignment in a middle school classroom.
Select a writing prompt from the Library. First, choose a prompt that you could complete together as a class to introduce the program. Revision Assistant provides a great opportunity for partner/group writing, so consider using this example prompt as a way to walk through the entire writing process together. Then, choose a second prompt for your students’ first independent assignment. Plan for a minimum of two days to complete the assignment in class.
Pull up Revision Assistant on your LCD. Read the prompt together as a class. Discuss what the question is asking, then assign a pre-writing strategy. Students can pre-write within Revision Assistant, or you can have students work in Word, Pages, Docs, or on paper either with a partner or individually. Students can then share their ideas with the class, further generating ideas. Consider using a graphic organizer to help students organize their thoughts.
Have students begin drafting their essay once pre-writing activities are completed. The composition space in Revision Assistant can be used for writing a first draft; students will receive feedback to help them revise throughout their writing process. They may also hand-write their first draft, use Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, or write in Google Docs. If students do use an outside program, they can copy and paste their work into Revision Assistant for feedback and revision purposes.
Students click “Signal Check” to get a round of feedback. They receive an indication of how well they are performing in the rubric traits (this is the w- fi like signal) as well as up to four comments specific to the writing assigned. Note that Revision Assistant does not check for spelling and grammar. Students should proofread their drafts carefully.
Students can click through all of the feedback considering where they can make corrections. Encourage students to see the advice given as relevant to their writing as a whole, and not just one sentence. Often, students need help breaking down the feedback: having them read the comments out loud is a good idea. This usually helps them clarify the suggestions. Students can get signal checks after each revision so they can keep working on improving their score.
The feedback from the program allows for quick student/teacher conferences to discuss specific ways for students to improve their scores.
You may use the Revision Assistant scores to create grades in several ways. You could use the average of the signal checks reported in the downloadable Assignment Report, which reflect the student’s score on his or her final submission. You may also give credit for completion. Additionally, because you may view how Signal Check scores changed from draft to draft in the student’s submission, you may grade based on improvement over the course of the assignment. Finally, you may assign points for each number of bars and total up students’ points based on the final signal check.
Written by Elizabeth Spiecher, Chartiers Valley Middle School