Drafting & Revising How-to Books, FREEBIE

WOW! Coaching basketball has kept me busy for the past month, but I'm back to blogging (and ON BREAK!!!!) Yay!

I know you are probably neck-deep in holiday activities right now, but today I'm playing "catch up" with a writing workshop post- I wanted to finish what I started when I began sharing my "how-to" writing journey with my class this year, so today I'm sharing how we drafted and revised our how-to books! I love to read about how other teachers run their workshops, and I hope you are able to pick up a couple ideas here! If you'd like to read how we brainstormed, click HERE, and how we planned our books, click HERE.
Drafting and Revising How-to Books, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom
My writing workshop always starts out with a mini-lesson during which I usually model for the kids, and then they go off and write independently, hopefully ready to try out some of the things that I've shown them. I plan my mini-lessons as I go through the unit, trying to stay 1 step ahead of my most proficient writers so that I can model each stage of the process for them. If I don't do that, I find that my "fast" writers quickly say, "I'm done!" Well, we all know that they're not! The goal of writing workshop is to try to extend their comfort zone just a little bit, each step of the way so that thay grow as authors.

For the drafting stage, I showed them how I could use my planner to write my draft by elaborating on my ideas into complete sentences. If you take a look, the first part that I drafted is written in purple.
Drafting and Revising How-to Books, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom
The brown text and "tip" are revisions-- see more about that below!

On each page, I also modelled how authors use transition words to organize their writing. I printed off this min-anchor chart for my students to keep in their writing folders and refer to when they drafted. It worked well because they used transition words throughout their drafts! Click on the picture to download a copy!
Drafting and Revising How-to Books, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

I also modelled how I can use onset rime and a little strategy I made up called  Stretch to Spell to help me spell as well as I can.

I finished the other pages of the draft on my own time because some of my writers were ready to revise. When modelling revisions, I showed them how authors go back and reread what's on the page and consider what more they could tell the reader. I used different colored pen to show what I added on.
Drafting and Revising How-to Books, Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

I also added a "tip" which could take the form of a bubble burst in the picture, a caption, or another sentence. The burst was a big hit and many of my little authors imitated that feature in their own books!

On this page, I modelled how writers can try out spellings in the margin to help them think about which spelling is correct; here we were considering the homophone <too>. This was a perfect time to reinforce the concept that spelling is based on meaning, not just sound!

I've got one more post planned to share our editing and publishing, and now that I'm on winter break, it just might happen in the next few days! :) Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Modeling with students is so important! I think many teachers skip this important step, which hurts students' learning. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reading Toward the Stars

    1. Agreed! Thanks for your comment, Andrea!

    2. Do you have the how to graphic organizer for download?


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