Revision Stations: An alternative approach to peer review

Summary: In this engaged activity, students review some vocabulary for describing the writing process, then break into small groups for self-directed learning at multiple revision stations.

If possible, students move to different spaces around the classroom (or surrounding space) where the instructor sets up each “station” with revision tasks, experimenting with different approaches to revision to help students identify a task to continue individually outside of the class. This activity draws on process pedagogy.

Time: 30+ minutes (easily adapted for up to 90 minutes by extending the time students spend at each station)

Audience: This is designed for undergraduate college students but could work with a community class, high school students, or community college students

Learning Objective: By actively engaging in the work of today’s lesson, your goal is to be able to:

  • Articulate the role of global revision in a creative writing process
  • Identify a productive next step in your revision process and express why it may be valuable.

What is revision? (10 min.)

The author Matthew Salesses said in a series about revision for the literary journal Pleiades that:

I have found that, for all the talk about revision, most courses are really focused on critique (that is, workshop) and writing exercises. Both of which nod toward revision, but neither of which necessarily get into the nitty gritty of what actual revision looks like–though there are usually a few exercises in the course that do. One of the most common things I hear from students is: ‘Everyone talks about revision, but no one has ever taught me how to revise.’

Global Revision v. Local Revision

  • Local revision: revision that impacts one or two sentences
  • Global revision:
    • Big picture considerations like structure, plot, characterization, point of view.
    • Global revision involves the big picture of your draft; it relates to large elements like structure, ideas, purpose, audience, evidence, analysis, and organization.

Revision Stations (30 min.)

Instructors: Tailor the specific activity directions for each revision station to the task and learning goals. Below are adaptable examples. Write the directions on a piece of paper and leave them at the station for each group to find.

First: Break into small groups

Divide into groups of 3-4. Each student will assume a role (A, B, C) described below. Multiple students can share each role in larger groups.

Classmate A: set your timer for 6-10 minutes at each station. Provide a reminder to your group.

Classmate B: read directions and ask if anyone has questions in your group, see if you can help.

Classmate C: As your group transitions from one station to the next, ask your classmates if they’ve identified anything they want to try in in their revision process.

Second: Review directions

Directions: Move through 3 mini stations to try approaches to reflection in small groups.

  • Station 1: Local Revision: Find one thing to: Add, change, move, delete. Repeat again if you finish.
  • Station 2: Global Revision: Create a backwards outline of your draft by writing the main ideas or developments of each paragraph in the margins. Then, using just the “skeletal outline” you’ve created in the margins, create a drawing that represents the structure of your piece of writing. Reflect on what you see. Does the structure work in the way you want it to?
  • Station 3: Interview a classmate and reflect on your process. Ask a peer the following questions, then switch to become the interviewee:
    • Describe what you’re writing. What are the main ideas or questions you want a reader to be considering after they finish reading?
    • What has gone well in your writing process so far? Why?

Third: Move through stations

Instructors: Set a time to help students move through stations. 15 minutes each is a good starting point, depending on the tasks.

Debrief: What did you notice about your writing process?

Reflect on what you found valuable in the stations. Design a revision task assignment for yourself.

Exit Ticket Directions:

On a notecard, fill in the blanks.

  1. One global element I want to focus on in revision is:______
  2. A revision strategy I will try is: _____

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