A final draft has to be mistake-free, right?
Wrong. Even the best writers still have room for improvement when the final draft has been published. Students (and teachers) also tend to concentrate mostly on conventions when they strive for "mistake-free" final drafts, but our budding writers should be thinking of all the writing traits when judging a published piece. Although no final draft is perfect, there are some tips and tricks I use on final draft day to encourage my kids to push even harder to publish the "best version" of their composition.
1. Other than my brief "over-the-shoulder" conferences with individual students and soft classical music, there is no other noise during publishing. Students must be able to concentrate on the changes that were made to their first drafts!
2. Use "drive-by-sticky-notes" to help students to correct any remaining misspelled words! Whether a first draft was edited by a peer or teacher, it's inevitable that a few misspellings will seep through. This is a quick way to fix them!
3. Discourage the "I'm done!" announcements. Our motto is, "You are not finished until you have reread!" Students need to get into the habit of carefully rereading to self-correct. Even when they are finished doing this, I have them keep their final drafts open at their desk for me to skim through.
4. Celebrate when improvements are made and writing goals are met! If we don't take the time to do this as their teachers, how else will they grow? Showcasing a "Writer of the Week" is a great celebration method and an even better teaching tool!
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