Resources, ideas and prompts for discussion related to Challenge and Engagement
Layering writing – what is it and how does it work?
Often we jump straight into a piece of writing or a writing focused task and accept what is produced at the first attempt. While appreciating that time is a precious commodity and there are demands on the curriculum in all subject areas, this probably does not reflect how we would write and nor does it represent how writing takes place in most walks of life. Perhaps we should insist that thought, reflection and redrafting are key parts of the process and writing task itself. We have to be careful though else a redrafted piece of work becomes a ‘neater’ or ‘tidier’ version of what we saw before, as opposed to a student improving their written work.
An example from English is shown below – but the ‘palette’ can be adapted for different subjects if necessary – is to Layer the Writing where a selection of analytical words or phrases from the grid can be introduced to their pieces to give it that depth and colour in the second draft. In addition they can check off any that they have used.
This is just one approach but follows the basic principles that:
- If work isn’t excellent, is it finished?
- It encourages students to re-read their own work, carefully critiquing along the way with guidance (a valuable skill).
- It aims to build pride in work as it improves.
On that note of time again, many teachers are concerned that there simply is not enough of it to allow for re-drafting. However, often the issues with bad writing habits that take more time to rectify and deal with or respond to have arisen from being allowed to occur over and over again.
Associated further reading and references:
- ‘Chapter 1: Challenge’, in Allison, S. and Tharby, A., 2017. Making Every Lesson Count. Carmarthen: Crown House.
- Gav McCusker (English Teacher, Durrington High School) 15MF on Layered Writing: https://classteaching.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/layered-writing/