One of the most transformative teaching tools I have ever come across is the drafting booklet as used in the TCRWP Units of Study. The premise is so simple. We ask the writer to take the earliest draft (quick write, flash draft, rough draft) and break it into individual sentences. These sentences are then written across the pages of a booklet (5 half sheets of lined paper between two construction paper covers, stapled), one per page. Then the writer is asked to rework each sentence, one at a time, trying something new each time. The revised sentences are written down the page where there is plenty of room for additions, substitutions, scratch-throughs, etc. When the student is finished working in the drafting booklet, she transfers the revised sentences back onto a single page discovery draft. Sort of like putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Only this time, he looks better than ever!
I believe this tool is so effective because the student can see his writing in small enough pieces that he is not overwhelmed. When our youngest writers sit staring at that single white notebook page, filled from the top line to the bottom with their words, they often are paralyzed by the sheer thought of going in there and finding places to re envision their message. The drafting booklet removes the "forest" and allows the students to see the "trees", one by one. In this very simple way, the young writer finds the confidence and the opportunity to stand back, think for a moment, and make changes.
Hooray for the drafting booklet!!