The writer retains control of the piece by deciding which suggestions to record.
Simple, solid suggestions
In this last step, the student chooses three suggestions to write on the paper as a result of the discussion. The writer retains control of the piece by deciding which suggestions to record. If the child writes very slowly or the suggestions are more involved, I ask the child if she or he would like me to record the suggestions on a sticky note. I also keep a record for myself.
Donald Graves writes, “The most common form of revision is the addition of information.” and that’s where most students are apt to start with suggestions. The child who said, “What was the snake like?” is likely to suggest that the author describe the snake in the piece. Or, the student who asked, “How does your story end?” will probably recommend adding an ending.
However, sometimes we discuss bigger and harder revision issues. Figuring out “what is the piece about?” helps the child see that the story lacks focus. Several stories may be embedded in one and the suggestion becomes, “Write about one of these topics in your second draft.”
Sometimes confusion from the readers helps the writer realize the story is out of order. The suggestion becomes, “Go through the story and find the parts that go together and rewrite it in sequence.” Throughout this process, I enjoy having the company of my other students in the circle because they observe things I might miss. They understand things I don’t. They explain ideas in language students understand. They convince each other to try something when I can’t.
NEXT: Circles in action