Shifting Gears: From Drafting to Revision and Editing

Poetry is one of my favorite genres to teach. I simply love the way the genre empowers ALL kids to have success with their words. (Quite frankly, I wish I could teach it in November, right before personal essay, but for some reason it never happens that way! Making it the last genre of the year that I taught this year was a big step moving it to November seems, well, even stranger.)

My kids are truly shifting from composing new poems to revision and editing this week. They have one more day of crafting, but then, as you’ll see, they’ll be shifting gears. Revision and editing are so necessary, but there is something that seems a bit boring about it, to me, since it will be a time for them to tweak what they have, rather than create something new (and I love new creations). The next three days will be spent as follows:

  1. Poets demonstrate their understanding of line breaks and how format creates dramatic effect by writing letter poems.
  2. Poets demonstrate their understanding of punctuation and how using it in poetry creates dramatic effect.
  3. Poets edit their poems. Using an editing checklist and a peer editor can help.

But then I question whether or not they’ll have enough time for revision and editing, which are glommed together in this unit, since their publishing party is next Tuesday, 6/17.

My first two years of teaching I taught poetry for literally seven or eight weeks. Now, it’s more like four weeks due to time constraints. However, the volume of work the kids have produced is not as vast, which makes switching gears that much harder.