LEADERSHIP IS ‘WRITING ON A BLANK SHEET OF PAPER’
It was time to prepare for writing. I gave the students an essay topic: "How to be a Successful Student." First they did a "quick write" on the topic and wrote for five minutes without stopping or lifting their pencil off the paper. The quick write was just to get a lot of ideas on the page and not to worry about spelling, grammar, or mechanics. When they finished the quick write, I asked them to circle some of the points they thought were important and choose their top three. Then I gave them copies of the template we had created, and we began to fill in the information paragraph by paragraph. On the template, paragraph one looked something like this:
LEADERSHIP IS ‘WRITING ON A BLANK SHEET OF PAPER ..
Good editing or proofreading skills are just as important to the success of an essay, paper or thesis as good writing skills. The editing stage is a chance to strengthen your arguments with a slightly more objective eye than while you are in the middle of writing.
Indeed, editing can turn a good essay or paper into a brilliant one, by paying close attention to the overall structure and the logical flow of an argument. Here we will offer some tips on how to edit a paper or an essay.
Tips for editing a paper or essay:
1. Read over other things you have written, to see if you can identify a pattern in your writing, such as problematic punctuation, or repeated use of the same adjectives.
2. Take a break between the writing and editing.
3. Read by sliding a blank page down your lines of writing, so you see one line at a time. Even in editing or proofreading, it is easy to miss things and make mistakes.
4. Read the paper out loud to get a sense of the punctuation, and make any changes to parts that feel unnatural to read.
5. Allow someone else to read over your paper, fresh eyes can see things you will not see.
The students wrote or typed the final draft and put it in their folder, which contains all of their notes, quick write, completed template, and earlier drafts of the essay. Before they handed in the folders, I had them look over the papers in their folders and write a response to this question: "What are two things you learned about how to be a better writer?" Most of the students wrote about how they finally understood how to organize an essay; many wrote about how they always thought they should just write something and hand it in, but that now they realized how much work they needed to do to produce quality writing. Many of them also expressed confidence that they would be able to pass the writing test.