Graduate Teaching Certificates Program
Sample Lesson Plan
Sample Lesson Plan: Teaching Revision/Reader Response Workshops
Learning Goals and Objectives:
These three class sessions are designed to introduce students to collaborative revision/peer
review workshops. Building upon collaborative theories of writing, these activities are
sequenced to help students understand the importance of conversation and collaboration in all
Sequencing and Pacing:
Class session 1 emphasizes the integral role that revision plays in all writing, and it attempts to
help students understand differences between revising and editing. By asking students to share
their positive and negative experiences with collaboration and by asking them to generate “rules”
for collaborative engagement, students are invited to take a proactive role in and responsibility
for effective collaboration.
Class session 2 continues the scaffolding activities for effective peer review. A discussion of the
categories and questions included in the Reader Response (RR) sheets not only works to build a
shared vocabulary about revision issues, but also emphasizes the importance of both global
revision and local editing issues. Moreover, by performing a whole-class collaborative review of
a sample paper, students gain understanding of both the processes of effective peer review and
the potential of such review to lead to significant, viable revision.
Class session 3 builds on previous modeling and scaffolding activities and asks students to
participate in a peer review session. Following the peer reviews with a student-generated
revision plan serves several functions: 1) It ensures that the fresh insight gained in the peer
review discussion is written down for students’ later use; and 2) It offers the teacher an
opportunity to build upon peers’ suggestions for revision when he/she offers his/her own
additional revision suggestions.
Overview of Activities
Class session 1: 50 Minutes
Discuss the importance of Revision (10 minutes), emphasizing:
-Re-Vision (re-seeing your writing, looking at it in a new way);
-Difference between revision (global, full-scale) vs. editing (sentence-
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-Revision’s not punitive; it’s what all skilled/successful writers do;
Review sample student draft and revision (25minutes)
-Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the draft. Then present a sample
revision, helping students see the global changes in the essay
Discuss students’ experiences with peer review/RR workshops and collaborate on plans
(15 minutes) to ensure these workshops are successful. Consider writing students’
experiences on the board and collaboratively developing a list of “rules” for RR
workshops. Emphasize that
-Being prepared, avoiding the nicey-nicey response, avoiding the red-penned
monster response, knowing that you’re a reader who CAN offer the writer
insights and advice on global revision–all of these are vital for successful RR
Class Session 2: 50 minutes
Pass out Reader Response (RR) Questions (10 minutes). Explain that
-The categories on the RR are hierarchical, as focus is most important at
this stage, while conventions are least important;
-The categories correlate to school’s standards for evaluating writing; thus,
they reflect criteria for success for the assignment.
-Being able to identify the kind of problem in an essay–i.e., distinguishing
between a focus problem and an organization problem–is vital for becoming a
better writer; to identify these issues in others’ writing is an important skill that
you’ll be able to transfer to your own writing;
-Collaboration isn’t cheating; it’s a natural part of the writing process.
Review the RR categories and questions (10 minutes), emphasizing that
-Students need to answer all questions on the RR sheet on a separate piece of
paper; writing some sentence-level comments/corrections on the actual draft is
fine, but remind students that more global issues should be discussed on a
-Students can expect to spend 30-45 minutes on each RR;
-The RR questions ask students to both Describe and Advise; this assists the
writer because if two descriptions of the focus, say, are different, the writer knows
he/she needs to do some work in that area. Similarly, if one reader thinks the
organization is chronological, while the other thinks it’s spatial, that sends up red
-At this early stage, even if responders can’t exactly articulate what’s “wrong” in
certain sections of an essay, just pointing out that something doesn’t feel right in a
section can help the writer improve:
-This written RR is only the first step. They’ll have the opportunity to DISCUSS
and actually help each other revise during the RR workshop.
Review Sample Essay (30 minutes), performing a whole-class RR on it.
-Put sample essay on overhead or pass out copies (be sure to collect the copies after the
class–save a few trees and our copy budget).
-Ask class members to ready essay aloud, one paragraph at a time.
-Discuss each section of the RR, writing students’ responses on the board.
-Help students develop a priority for revision for the essay.
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-Synthesize by stressing the import of getting input at this point in draft-writing.
-Students should trade first versions with their group members and give you a
copy. As homework, students should write RR’s for their group members.
Class Session 3: 50 minutes
Reader Response Workshops
Remind students of their tasks (10 minutes):
-The goal is to offer real advice and assistance in revision, to really have a conversation
about the students’ writing. If the group is silently reading responses, there’s something
-Write group guidelines on board:
-One person at a time
-10 minutes per essay (call out times for switching to next essay)
-Compare RR advice and determine priorities for revision
-Begin revision if time allows
Collaborative Group Work (30 minutes)
Stroll around the room w/grade book, giving credit for RR’s. Don’t stick to one group;
meander to ensure everyone’s on task and/or to answer questions.
Write Revision Plans (10 minutes):
For each category on the RR sheet, ask students to
1. Write the advice they received
2. Explain their revision plans based on that advice
3. Identify their major PRIORITY for revision
4. Ask you (the teacher) specific questions (e.g., a general question like “what
can I do to
improve this essay?” will result in a general answer–“lots.”)
(Note: Use students’ revision plans as you respond to first versions; try not to “undermine” or
“override” the advice they’ve received by reinforcing peers’ suggestions for revision and
offering a do-able list of additional revisions to consider.)
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Reader Response Questions: Literacy Autobiography
Please write your responses on a separate sheet, providing answers to ALL pertinent questions.
Remember to DESCRIBE and ADVISE for each section.
1. What is your gut reaction to the essay?
2. What is the strongest feature of the essay?
3. What should be the author’s priority for revision? Why?
1. Try to put the focus in your own words and write it in a complete sentence (Subject + POS).
2. Is the focus significant? That is, does it address important issues that you, the reader, want to learn
about? Why or why not?
3. Offer the author suggestions about the focus. Could it be broadened? Narrowed? How could it be
revised to be made more significant to the essay’s readers?
4. Is the focus followed throughout the essay? Why or why not?
DEVELOPMENT FOR AUDIENCE:
1. Who is the audience for this essay? What elements of the essay make it clear that it is, indeed,
directed to that audience?
2. Which details, examples, and other information that support the focus are most striking? Why? How
did they affect you, the reader?
3. What section(s) of the essay need more development and details/examples to better support the focus?
Try to offer the author specific suggestions for development.
4. Do any of the sections of the essay seem unnecessary and completely unrelated to the focus? Should
any sections be cut?
1. Describe the organization of the essay. Is it written in Descriptive (part-by-part) or Narrative (moving
through time) form? Does this organizational pattern work? Why or why not?
2. Do any sections of the essay seem unrelated to the focus? If so, point them out and offer the author
suggestions for making those sections relevant to the focus.
3. Does the essay “flow”? That is, does the author need to offer transitions between paragraphs or
sentences so that all elements of the essay relate to each other? Point out sections where transitions are
used well. Point out sections where ideas “jump” and transitions are needed.
STYLE AND CONVENTIONS:
1. Describe the author’s “tone” or “voice” here, using one adjective. Is that voice appropriate for the
essay’s audience? Why or why not?
2. Point out two sentences that you think are awkward are “stylistically-challenged.” How would you
revise those sentences?
3. Does the author have any patterns of mechanical/grammatical error that significantly impeded your
reading of the essay? If so, point out the most significant patterns of error for discussion.
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