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Lesson Plan

Cut up, Cover up, and Come Away with Ideas for Writing!

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Cut up, Cover up, and Come Away with Ideas for Writing!

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

S. Rebecca Leigh

S. Rebecca Leigh

Rochester, Michigan

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

Portal writing (Leigh, 2010) is a strategy for revision where students isolate and mask selected words from a text (e.g., poem, short story, personal narrative) in order to re-see their story from a different perspective. Re-seeing is important because a portaled piece of text can re-engage writers on the page where an original piece of writing may have lost its story appeal. Often, students will abandon pieces of writing that start out as good ideas but somewhere during the drafting stage lose interest. Portaling a piece of text can help students look closely at their own use of language, giving students a reason to revisit their abandoned stories and re-engage in writing them.

In this lesson, students rework their forgotten/abandoned drafts by cutting and covering up selected words. By creatively manipulating text, they explore portal writing, a strategy for envisioning a new story or story direction.

 

Leigh, S.R. (2010). Portal Writing: An Independent Writing Strategy to Help Writers Re-See their Writing.

Presentation at Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning: Estes Park, CO.

 

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FEATURED RESOURCES

 

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

Katie Wood Ray states that "Crafted places in texts are those places where writers do particular things with words that go beyond just choosing the ones they need to get the meaning across.  The ‘special skill or art' to writing is knowing more and more of these ‘particular things' to do with words" (28).

In this lesson, students learn a new way to approach their abandoned writing using Portal writing.  Through this approach, students look closely at their own use of language, giving them a reason to revisit their abandoned stories and re-engage in writing them.

 

Further Reading

Ray, Katie Wood. 1999. Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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