Major components of a Cabin lesson
- A focus that explores an essential writing idea or tool.
- An interactive introduction that inspires students to approach the lesson with adventurous minds.
- Guided critical reading of a model literary text that shows the writing tool at work.
- A creative prompt to ignite student writing time.
- Peer response time including reflective student sharing of work and task-based peer response toward revision.
- A revision challenge designed by the Cabin teacher, to be completed by students at least one day after the lesson has concluded to give students productive distance from their first drafts.
- Written comments from the teaching-writer focused on the lesson’s objective and ideas for further revision.
What doesn’t happen during a Cabin lesson
- Suppression of student ideas. A core belief of Cabin youth education is that students should have the power to choose their subjects and modes of expression, within the basic boundaries of classroom appropriateness.
- Revision conflated with editing. We think of revision as an experience of re-seeing one’s own work, looking for opportunities to change it by extending the ideas that are already in play or striking out in new directions. Revision means change, not simply cleaning up.
- Direct instruction and written comments about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. We believe that fine-tuning of language use belongs to the very last step of the writing process: editing. When it’s time to publish, we help students edit their own work through guided proofreading activities.