Hindsight Kicks, Master Critic, Bits and Pieces and the Reflection


Part 1

Here are your options:

Option A) Hindsight Kicks

Revise Essay 1 or 2 into a stronger paper:

•    Consider your instructor’s comments on the graded original version
•    Identify portions of the essay that work well and do not need to be revised
•    Reread your earlier drafts, your peers’ comments, and the primary text(s)
•    Consider your thesis statement and possible ways to strengthen it
•    Rethink your most important points
•    Add new or more convincing evidence
•    Strengthen your analysis
•    Delete redundant or extraneous sections
•    Workshop your new paper with classmates
•    Edit carefully, observing Standard Written English
•    Consider stylistic choices
•    Highlight your changes on the new version via Track Changes

Option B) Master Critic

It’s a lot easier to be objective about revising work when it’s not your own. For this option, try exchanging Essay 1 or Essay 2 with a classmate. Revise your

classmate’s essay into a stronger piece of writing, following the above guidelines. In addition:

•    Adapt the paper to your own voice
•    Rewrite a new introduction and conclusion
•    Rename the essay, emphasizing your own slant

Option C) Bits and Pieces

It’s possible that you had similar problems with all your papers this semester and would appreciate the opportunity to focus your efforts on specific aspects of

writing such as crafting introductions, developing paragraphs, or integrating sources. For this option, rewrite the various pieces for all three essays you’ve

completed this semester:

•    Identify aspects of writing that you would particularly like to address
•    Reread all your writing, searching for reoccurring patterns
•    Consider your instructor’s comments on the graded original versions as well as the drafts
•    Do the same with your peers’ comments
•    Revise the same writing feature(s) from your various essays
•    Workshop your new work with classmates
•    Edit carefully, taking style into consideration
•    Highlight your changes on the new versions

Option D) Going for the Top

Perhaps you’ve already produced consistent, quality work this semester. Now take the time to transform a strong essay into a prize-winning one.

•    Consider your instructor’s comments on the graded original version
•    Reflect on what went well and why
•    Consider other readers’ comments
•    Carefully reread the text(s) you wrote about
•    Ask your instructor to reread your essay and offer additional tips on style/language
•    Add several new points, perhaps adding new quotes or using outside sources
•    Delete material that weakens or detracts from your argument
•    Consider jazzing up your title, introduction, and conclusion
•    Workshop your paper with classmates
•    Edit carefully, taking style into consideration
•    Highlight your changes on the new version using Track Changes
•    Submit a copy of your essay to the Student’s Guide essay contest

Part 2:  Reflection

Now that you have successfully revised an essay, it’s time to step back and critically analyze the process. For Part II of this project, write a complete formal essay

in which you explain in detail the changes you made in your revised essay. Consider all your major choices and their impact.  Wrestle with your most important

cognitive decisions, leading readers through your thinking process.

Your essay should include a title, introduction with forecast, conclusion, and logically structured paragraphs.  For evidence, quote lines from both the original and

revised essay.  When analyzing language mistakes, look for patterns of error. Quote Rules for Writers to explain rules you had mis-learned or not learned before. Give

yourself credit for things that went well in the original paper and should not be changed. (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”)

You might also want to include an explanation of how this final project essay represents a culmination of what you have learned/reviewed during the course of the

semester, but the majority of your essay should describe specifics about the original and the revised essay. As a final step, edit your essay, observing the rules of

Standard Written English.

Brainstorming Questions

As you start drafting your reflection, you might want to consider the following:

Structure and Intent:

What successful aspects of your original essay were you able to build upon?
How did you expand on the thesis and forecast?
How did you write or alter your hook?
How and why did you alter the title?
How did you change the framework of your essay, including the intro and conclusion?
How did you improve on your topic sentences?
Which transitions needed more attention?

Argument and Proof:

What points did you add?
Which explanations did you expand on?
What material did you need to cut?
Which quotes were too long or too vague to be useful?
Which quotes worked well exactly as you used them?

Language and Mechanics:

How accurate was your punctuation?
What choices did you make in terms of style?
What changes did you make in word choice, and why?
How did you work to improve the tone/voice?
What were some repetitive phrases you were able to get rid of?
What were some vocabulary choices that made your writing more clear?


What specific steps did you take to improve your work?
What additional material did you incorporate and how did you arrange it?
What did you have to cut?
What were your biggest improvements?
Which decisions were hard to make and why?
What makes this version more persuasive overall?
What were some of the useful tips you received from your peers?
What were some suggestions from your peers that you decided not to use, and why not?
What are the most important things you’ve learned about revising your writing?

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