How to Teach Editing and Revising – Set Up a Writing Critique Group

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Tip#5In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

Writing can seem easy as you work on the first draft. The words just flow. Then you begin to look over that draft, and you realize that you could do better. You edit and revise, again and again. After awhile, you almost see mirages of words you edited before, and it becomes impossible to see mistakes.

For students writing a book, this is a real problem. They need to get another set of eyes to look at their draft to help them fix the mistakes. Yet who has time to read and reread a draft book, let alone edit and revise it? Most teachers don’t have that kind of extra time, and other people rarely are interested enough. Only another writer would be willing to help. Therefore, the best people to review a writer’s draft work and help with editing and revising are other writers.

I have six high school science students writing and publishing their own books, so I organized them into a writing critique group. This group is a circle of writers who are dedicated to editing and revising one another’s work. These groups can be organized in different ways—see The Writers Craft for a good description. I told my students to pair up and edit and revise each other’s books, then pair up and do it again with a different person. You can download the Writing Critique Group Guidance I gave them. When they finish, they will all have a well-written, final draft that they can share with beta readers.

Next week, my post will have a tip on how to find beta readers.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

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Mentoring Science Students to Draft a Book – Give Them a Template

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Tip#4In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

How should a physics and engineering teacher like me instruct students in how to write a book? I gave the reasons why I am doing this project in a previous post. I have been learning about the self-publishing process over the past year, as I published my first book and marketed it. This did not make me an expert, but it gave me a new perspective that I could share with students. Besides this experience, we are networking with writers in our community to give the students other perspectives on writing and publishing.

But back to the main question – how should a science teacher like me teach students this process of writing and publishing? I decided to give the students wide latitude on creativity, while giving them more detailed guidance on deadlines and expected outcomes. To start them off, I had two meetings with them before the summer break where we discussed ideas for books and the importance of writing to a target audience. For the summer, I gave them the assignment to write a first draft of the book, due mid-August. We are starting to review these drafts now. To help them save time and concentrate on the creative aspect of writing, I gave the students a book template that was formatted as a paperback book, ready for publishing. All they had to do was type over the text. Since the whole point of this project was to learn to communicate effectively about science through a book, learning the intricacies of formatting a book, as required in the Chicago Manual of Style, was not high on my list of learning objectives. Providing the students a template saved them valuable time to do what was most important.

Throughout this project, I will show other ways that you can mentor students in the creative process of producing a book, while giving them supports that keep the project from being too daunting and time consuming. If you would like to see or use the template, click Book Template for Students to download it. It was based on the template provided at the “Tools and Resources” link on the website for APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur): How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. I had used this book as my primary guide in writing and publishing my first book, and I recommend it.

Next week, my post will have a tip on organizing students into a writing critique group.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.