I am a huge supporter of the Common Core. One reason is because the Core heightens the saliency of goals and objectives (a UDL principle) by providing all teachers, PK-12, with Anchor Standards to guide instruction. These Anchor Standards are then broken down into developmentally appropriate levels of rigor for each grade. One great way to understand this is to examine the revision standard for kindergarten.
Anchor standard Writing 5 reads, “Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.” Although this may seem overwhelming for kindergartens, the K standard only requires students to, “respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.” It’s also important to note that the writing standards 1-3 allow students to “use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces, informative text, and narrate a single event…” so revision techniques can be done by drawing, dictating, and/or writing.
What does this mean for your students?
Once students draw, dictate, or write in response to a prompt, they should be encouraged to add details to it. This can be done using the six traits of writing as a guide. Below are some questions students could ask each other when working through the revision process.
|Ideas||Add a drawing to help readers understand your writing?
Add descriptive words to help readers “see” what you are writing about?
|Organization||Add a title?
Add transitions like first, next, last?
|Add figurative language, such as a simile?
Add a new word you learned at school that you don’t use all the time?
|Sentence fluency||Add words to make some sentences longer? Remember, not all sentences should be the same length.|
|Voice||Add oversize letters, exclamation points, underlining, repetition, and pictures for emphasis?|
|Language conventions||Add capital letters and periods at the end of sentences?|
Once students understand what they can add to their writing, you can provide some UDL choices to increase engagement in the revision process. For example:
- Revise one piece on a document camera or chart paper as a class.
- Take the class outside to write a sentence(s) in chalk and then revise to make it better.
- Allow groups of students to revise a piece together.
- Have students return to a previous drawing/writing piece to revise, using different colored pencils for each trait when they add something new.