Coaching Students to Revise

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Reverse Outlining . . . But Didn't Know to Ask

Author: 
Rebecca Nowacek, WAC Program, UW-Madison
Description: 
To help students improve the organization of their papers, it's helpful to have them outline the draft they've written (a "reverse" or "after-the-fact" outline, done not before writing a draft but after)--so they can get an aerial view of the sequence of topics in their draft.  In this handout for students in an introductory literature course, the instructor, Rebecca Nowacek, explains how to create a reverse outline and how to use it while revising.

What is a reverse outline?

If a regular outline is something you write before you draft out your paper, a reverse outline is something you do after you write a draft.

Why should I reverse outline?

Offering Students Encouragement As They Revise

Author: 
Ann Burgess, Biocore Program, UW-Madison
Description: 
Students often need and really benefit from some encouragement and advice as they revise papers to meet their instructors' high standards.  In the following email sent to all students in a large writing-intensive biology course at UW-Madison, Ann Burgess, the former director of the Biocore Program, explains the feedback TAs gave on the papers, differentiates between the larger, more conceptual revisions and smaller, more local ones, and offers valuable encouragement to motivate students as they do the hard work of revising papers in substantial ways.

Biocore Students:

 

I wanted to offer you some moral support as you tackle revising your Enzyme Catalysis papers.

*We want you to succeed.*

Encouraging and Teaching Students to Revise

Author: 
Rebecca Nowacek, WAC Program, UW-Madison
Description: 
Students often disappoint instructors by doing little or shallow revision, even when writing assignments require drafts and instructors and peers offer feedback for revisions.  Here's some advice, based on research and experience.

Revision, revision, revision: the term is nearly a mantra in Comm-B and Writing-Intensive (WI) courses at UW-Madison.

From Topic to Thesis

Author: 
Tisha Turk, Gender and Women's Studies, UW-Madison
Description: 
Instructors often have to help students learn how to make a strong, analytical or argumentative central claim in a paper, a claim that goes beyond a mere statement of fact or obvious point.  In this handout for her students, Tisha Turk explains and illustrates what she's looking for in a strong thesis statement.

A well-constructed thesis statement helps hold an essay together by showing the reader where the paper is going to go. It defines not just a paper’s topic but its argument, and introduces the kinds of evidence or mode of reasoning that will be used to back up that argument. It does not merely summarize the points that will be made; rather, it shows the relationship between those points.

In-Class Writing Lessons

Author: 
Molly Peeney, Slavic Languages and Literature, UW-Madison
Description: 
Step-by-step instructions for designing and leading in-class discussions of student writing, developed for a Slavic literature-in-translation course.

Using student writing samples as the basis of your in-class discussions about writing is an effective method to teach writing and it saves you time. Why?

 

Conducting Conferences with Your Students

Author: 
Brad Hughes, UW-Madison WAC Program
Conducting Student-Teacher Conferences
 

Although you're likely to find them time consuming and exhausting, the individual conferences yo

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