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Lesson Plan

Once Upon a Fairy Tale: Teaching Revision as a Concept

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Once Upon a Fairy Tale: Teaching Revision as a Concept

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Deborah Dean

Deborah Dean

Provo, Utah


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Students sometimes have trouble understanding the difference between the global issues of revision and the local ones of editing. After reading several fractured fairy tales, students make a list of the ways the original stories have been revised—changed or altered, not just “corrected”—to begin building a definition of global revision. After students have written a “revised” story of their own, they revise again, focusing more on audience but still paying attention to ideas, organization, and voice. During another session, students look at editing as a way to polish writing, establishing a definition of revision as a multi-level process.

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Fractured Fairy Tales: Find a sampling of online fractured Fairy Tales at this Website.

Peer Evaluation for Global Revision: Students can use the questions and guidelines on this handout to peer review each other's global revisions.

Peer Evaluation for Local Revision: Students can use the questions and guidelines on this handout to peer review each other's editing.

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In the book Strategic Writing, Deborah Dean asserts that "revision has layers" (151). In helping students differentiate between revising for ideas, organization and voice and editing for word choice, sentence fluency and conventions, she suggests breaking the process into more than one day, allowing students to focus on strategies that influence revision before applying strategies for editing. Furthermore, following her suggestions for reflection after strategy practice can help students transfer the fun practice they get with this engaging activity to other situations and other writing, building long-term procedural and conditional knowledge of revision as a concept and strategy for writing.

Further Reading

Dean, Deborah.  Strategic Writing: The Writing Process and Beyond in the Secondary English Classroom.  Urbana, IL: NCTE 2006.

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