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Fixing Up and Fancying Up

Tonight I asked my first grade daughter, “What did you do in writing workshop today?”

She beamed — literally beamed up at me with her toothless grin and said, “Oh Mom, it was great — I learned how to fix up and fancy up my writing!  A celebration is coming!”

And here you have it — the way thinking evolves.  Looking into her sparkling eyes I remembered the term Lucy used in her Small Moment book about editing and preparing for a celebration.  Then, of course, I considered my latest post and feel the need to process the use of the phrase “fixing writing” a bit more.

In this case, fixing up writing is just fine.  Hannah is energized and excited.  As Karen pointed out in her comment, often teachers refer to “fixing writing” during the editing phase.

I understand this use of the term.  However, not when it comes to revising.  I think it is a dangerous term to use when asking students to revise their writing.  Revision is when writers work the words.  There are endless possibilities and many can be “right” when it comes to this kind of work. 

In stark contrast, there are often limited right ways when it comes to Standard English — in this case, I suppose we do fix our writing.

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

4 thoughts on “Fixing Up and Fancying Up Leave a comment

  1. ‘Fix’ isn’t a word I every use with my students in terms of revision, either. When we talk about revision, we talk about how big English is, how there are so many ways to say the things we want to say, and that the revision process is our chance to make sure we’ve expressed ourselves as accurately (ornately, concisely, enthusiastically, convincingly …) as possible.

    In the case of my students, who are learning to write essays in order to pass the GED exam, the idea of revision does tend to get mixed up with the idea of getting it ‘right’ so that they’ll get passing scores. I think I may have finally gotten my day class to see that the GED readers aren’t looking for perfection (they only have 45 minutes to write their essays, after all!). Readers want to see if you know how to make and support an argument … and whether you can express yourself clearly. And that second part is my focus when it comes to revision — not ‘fixing’ but making sure the words you choose are the right ones for the ideas you want to express.

    (Lisa: can you call the publishing celebrations ‘presentations of writing projects’ or something official-and-not-at-all-celebratory-sounding like that?)


  2. I like that “fancy up” idea.

    This actually brings up something I have been working over in my mind. I love the idea of having publishing parties and celebrating the finished product, but this year I have a student in my class whose religion prohibits participation in celebrations of any kind. Any ideas or past experiences that would help? Some of my colleagues say that I should carry on with my program and do as her mother asks: excuse her from these things. However, when I arranged for her to be excused from our Halloween party planning meeting (5 minutes), she was absolutely sure that she should not have to leave. She doesn’t want to be excused, her parents want it. Anyway! What can I call my publishing celebrations, other than celebrations!? 🙂


  3. thanks for the reminder. we are just beginning to edit/revise our fiction stories. this is a great new mindset for the kids. i think i will use it today!


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