Printed essays make students feel like professional writers

Rarely do students see their own writing printed unless they type it up themselves. That is why I type and print final drafts for them. They compare their handwritten drafts to the printed drafts in wonder.

This is the moment when they realize they are writers.

Smile, page 1, written draft 001

Above is a prewriting organizer in the form of a time line which a sixth grader used to write about events in a book she read. What follows are the two-page revised first draft and finally, the typed draft.


Smile, page 2 001

Handwritten revised draft of student essay

Handwritten revised draft of a student’s essay

Typed version of student's essay

Typed version of a student’s essay

When I type student essays on my computer, I print two final versions. One is for the student to take home, attached to the earlier, revised drafts, the list of verbs, the math showing the number of words per sentence and the range, and the mind web or other prewriting organizer. This package of papers shows a paper trail from the development of ideas through revision and the final draft. Parents can look over the changes the student has made to his essay and discover what the student already knows—that writing is a step-by-step process.

The other printed version I use for publishing. More about that in the next blog.

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