Is this good?
Did I do it right?
Can you read this?
These are the questions I cannot seem to escape. They swirl in a writer’s mind. It never fails. No matter the writer’s age, there appears to be a bit of lingering doubt that can grow and grow if we let it.
For many years I’ve talked with writers about viewing their writing in different ways. Using the work of Georgia Heard, here at Two Writing Teachers, I wrote about using revision lenses to re-see our writing in new and different ways.
Each lens uses an intentional focus on one area. I have adapted these lenses multiple times for different ages and, in the past two years, found that something was missing.
A lens focused on “good writing.”
Whatever that may mean!
I realized writers needed to be able to define good writing based on some personal factors. This led to students making their own revision lenses in the workshop when they had that burning urge to ask me, “Is this good?”
The resulting comparisons and revision lenses led to great conversations about how each of us has our own version of what is “good.”
Students shared their lenses with each other and used them during the revision process for subsequent writing pieces across the year.
How to Try This Yourself
If you are interested in trying this with your writers, begin by introducing some revision lenses similar to the ones I have shared here. For earlier elementary grades, you might even want to have students make some “special” paper glasses to put on when shifting from one intended lens to the next.
Allow students to think about and share what they like when reading others’ writing. Use student mentor texts or author study texts from your workshop to identify what is “good.”
Students can then gather prompts or notes for themself or for younger writers, a shared or interactive writing lesson may work better. This becomes an individualized checklist for the writer and should match the writer’s level of expertise. You can view a digital copy of the lens I used for students here and either print a paper copy or “make a copy” to edit your own using Google tools.
I hope you find this helpful when giving students additional ownership as they work to be better writers with revision in mind.