This is an example of one of three paragraphs that the class revised.
The Clang Session is a very useful way of putting the student in control of his or her writing. I used the editing program (which I hate) to show you the changes that the students made. You will see many things happening here.
Here’s how it works. A student writer hands the paper over to a reader (from now on called “writer” and “reader” respectively. The writer sits so that the paper cannot be seen. The reader reads the paper aloud to the writer once with no interruptions. Then the reader reads to the writer again. This time the writer stops the reader when he or she feels that something needs to be changed. The reader may not make suggestions unless specifically invited to do so by the writer. (Otherwise the writing becomes the property of the reader.) This is particularly challenging for the reader who can easily see problems whereas the writer is getting all of the information through his or her ears.
In this case, our student leader came to the front and sat next to me, facing the class, while the class watched the changes I made on the LCD projector connected to my computer. They made changes on the copies I made of the paper as we went along. In the role of the reader, I read the whole paper, then I read each paragraph sentence by sentence, and then by paragraph. The writer decided which sentences to tackle. Often he knew it wasn’t right but needed help. At this point he was allowed to call on other students to help him. Students wanted to offer advice, but he was very good at only accepting those things he liked. Some students became frustrated that he didn’t take their suggestions, and this was a good point at which to remind them that this was not their paper. They don’t have to like what the writer chooses.
I’ll clean up the above draft and post it later. At that point, it is much easier to see the improvements in clarity and control.