This week, the class worked together to discuss revision and to look at
student writing to improve and strengthen it. Teacher comments are in italics.
Morning Class (Afternoon
Student Examples of Revision:
One student read her work again to revise it and changed words to
become more exact than before. For example, she had said first, “She
did not want to” and second she said, “She is not interested in.”
The reason for her revision was that the girl in the student’s story
was only five years old, so “want” did not seem quite right for her
The student has really “seen again” her story as she has tried
hard to make it more true to life than it was before. She has the reader’s
interest in her mind and wants that reader to accept the point of view
Spelling correction is not really revision, though necessary. Save
it for your final copy, along with comma errors, missing prepositions,
missing or incorrect articles (a, an, the) and so on.
Another possible revision for this story would be for its setting.
Is, for example, a boy’s room showing his character as I wish?
Another would be to add or subtract a character or give a more
complete character for someone.
Revision is many things, including thinking about the story while
walking around (after writing a draft) and evaluating and judging how
well you have written.
Officially, thinking before you begin a story is called “pre-writing,”
in Brad’s view this is slightly incorrect as anything you do to help
with the physical writing is writing.
Spring was the most favourite season for Lin, especially after she
had found the botanical garden.
The story begins in the past tense. The student has chosen to do
so because the story, as many stories about children are, is looking
back (and so, too, is O’Failain’s story, “The Trout”)
Not far from Lin’s home, there was a garden planted with various
trees and exotic flowers. [Describe one, such as a “tulip tree”]
Though entering it was forbidden to children, it was always easy for
Lin, a five-year-old girl, to squeeze and creep through the fence and
find funny things there.
The setting creates curiosity in the reader and it indicates quite
a bit about the girl’s character already.
Sharon began to fear the dark night outside when Ma was reading
stories at bedtime. She was six years old, but still needed the lights
on the whole night, because she was afraid to die while sleeping.
Children often have irrational fears (ones that adults no longer
have or don’t think about). To include this fear makes the story
stronger, as most of us can relate or remember.
Repetition is a very strong technique, when used carefully. In
this example, “night” was repeated three times, but two seemed
“Mum, Mum, here is a bird!”
This sounds quite natural for a kid, especially saying the name
Afternoon Class Notes
Discussion on the meaning of revise:
Revise means review or read it again or check it again. It may mean
correct it. Check the spelling.
Revision is not the same as review. To review might mean only to read
it carefully again. Revision means more than that, and perhaps includes
change of some kind.
He is a man of vision, who can see more (understand and know) than
the average person.
So, to revise has more to do with seeing more or different things
than to review something.
Examples of Revision:
Moving parts of the story from one place to another. The reason was
so it was more understandable.
Removing whole sentences is revision. The story was not better with
those sentences, so the student omitted them.
Revising is when I added some new points of view to my paper to
As metaphor: As in improving the quality of a car, a revision of a
piece of writing is the same job.
Corrections (but not, really, revision):
Check the spelling, the commas, the articles (a, an, the), and the
It was summer holiday, the first time we visited my aunt’s house in
the beautiful small village. I had never been in such a scenic place
that looks like a picture. A clear riverlet passes by the front of my
aunt’s house and a lychee orchard behind the house. The ripe lychee is
a burning fire when you see it from far away. (From the story, “Boating”)
The setting in this paragraph accomplishes a great deal. We know
the season, the physical place (village, south China, its beauty), the
specific orchard tree, the relative’s house, and the water. Few words
establish a complex picture.
The student uses an appositive phrase after the comma in the first
sentence. It is a very good way to introduce details about a noun (often
the object) to a reader. For example, “Brad owns a car, a 2001
Mercedes Benz parked in the staff parking lot outside the school.” (He
The two metaphors: one about the place equals a picture; the other
about the fire equals the tree. One is simile (using “like”) and the
other is metaphor (the tree IS fire). Metaphor is a stronger comparison
and for the fire image of the tree, it is suitable to be stronger.
Nada was an eight-year-old girl playing with her brother Ali and a
couple of friends under her favourite almond tree.
In the story, “Climbing the Almond Tree,” the little girl,
Nada, is introduced through her actions and thoughts rather than
described by the narrator.
He liked to read and loved to do the scientific experiments.
In the story “Friendship,” the boy is described as in the
above sentence and also by actions and thoughts.
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