As an English teacher, I know that teaching students to revise and edit is fundamental to their success. It can also be one of the most difficult lessons to integrate. Finding time to give proper feedback or fit in peer editing can be daunting. But there is a bigger issue here: kids find revising boring and pointless.
We as teachers can appreciate and understand the importance of such skills, but our students haven’t yet seen it for themselves. They feel like we are personally punishing them and trying to ruin their day, or teaching them something they won’t use in their lives.
Without revising and editing their writing and the writing of others, students will fall behind in their writing development. They miss out on the opportunity to view writing in a critical eye and learn from that experience. This is why I put together Musical Revisions.
Before I started using Musical Revisions I felt like I had no idea how to implement revising effectively. The students weren’t getting as much out of it as I wanted them to, and I was at a loss on how to move forward.
Musical Revisions is an active way for students to develop revising skills in steps. This activity works similarly to musical chairs, but when they sit down they are giving targeted feedback on their peer’s writing. No swapping of computers, reading silently, and scratching down a few notes. When students go to give revisions and feedback with this activity, they have a direction and a purpose — which improves the quality of their feedback!
This activity comes with handouts for 5 different rotations (2, 3, 4, 5, & 6) which means it is easily modified for any writing piece or amount of time you have. It can easily be implemented on short notice, or utilized for an entire day.
Whether you have 10 minutes or 60 minutes, students will be able to practice critically revising writing. One of the issues I ran into prior to developing Musical Revisions, was that my students didn’t know what feedback to leave. So to make this process even easier on you, I put together seven guiding questions on a printable half sheet that students can use to leave specific peer feedback.
These guiding questions help students identify what things they can look for when they sit down to revise. Students feel less pressure when giving feedback because they have clear and uniform expectations of what to do. The seven questions I put together are broad enough to work for all writing pieces of any length — from a paragraph to a full blown essay.
When students peer revise for their classmates they are gaining knowledge of grammar concepts, seeing many different writing styles, and identifying elements of the writing that they can take back and add into their own writing in addition to their feedback. They can learn from each other in a low stakes way; often in ways that we teachers are unable to reach them. By giving them time to practice this and utilize the guiding questions, they are not only learning how to improve their writing in the moment, but in future writing assignments as well. They know what is expected of them and have a guide along the way.
After using this many times in my classes, I can say with full confidence that my students’ writing has improved after this activity. They were able to make corrections, engage in discussions with classmates about their writing, and add to their writing in meaningful ways.
Musical Revisions comes with:
But the best part is that you can use this product with any grade level and any piece of writing! It is effective when looking at single paragraphs, extended responses, and complete essays. You can also use this product throughout the writing process to help students revise and give and receive feedback as they go.
This stressless and fun way to get students to revise their writing will transform how you and your students feel about the editing and revising process. No more complaints about revising being boring, that’s for sure.
You can find Musical Revisions (the printables, guiding questions, and tips and tricks) on my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Implement this activity as early as Monday morning, and let me know how it works in your classroom!
P.s. If you have questions or need help implementing this, don’t be afraid to reach out.