There’s a reason teachers use the mnemonics ARMS and CUPS to teach revising and editing – because they work! However, as with all teaching tricks, you have to show your students how to use them effectively. The ARMS and CUPS Task Cards are a great way to get students to revise and edit their writing independently!
As a new teacher, I struggled with getting my students to make meaningful revisions to their writing. I can recall one sweet soul who added another “really” to every single one of her sentences- so instead of “The dog was really fluffy,” her sentence now read, “The dog was really, really fluffy”! This is why just saying “Find ways to make your writing better” doesn’t work for our learners. Revising is NOT an easy concept for students to grasp. They need a lot of practice as well as a systematic approach.
The same goes for editing! Have you ever asked your students to check their punctuation only to find out they changed every! single! sentence! to end with an exclamation mark? This is why we must give our students explicit tasks to complete as they edit.
Revising with ARMS
The mnemonic ARMS helps students remember what to focus on as they revise:
However, what do these words mean? Students need guidance with knowing WHAT to add or remove, HOW to do it effectively, and WHY to do it. Otherwise, they will make changes just to make changes!
To help students make meaningful revisions, ask questions to guide them, such as:
- Should you add more sensory words?
- Is this sentence necessary for the reader to understand the paragraph?
- Would this word make more sense in a different spot?
- Did you overuse any words or phrases?
Editing with CUPS
Help your students edit with the mnemonic CUPS:
Students need to remember that when they are writing an essay, story, or short response, their goal is to have the reader comprehend what they wrote. Learning how to edit helps students publish more polished work!
Again though, students need a step-by-step walk-through of the editing process – otherwise, you may end up with an essay in which every single word is capitalized!
Make sure your students know WHAT capitals to focus on (at the beginning of the sentence, proper nouns, singular “I”), as well as how to check for punctuation, usage, and spelling errors. Make sure students use all the tools they have – dictionaries, thesauruses, source material, etc. – as they edit their work.
Revising and Editing Task Cards
Want a free set of ARMS and CUPS task cards?
These task cards will walk your students through editing and revising their work step by step! You can place these in task card boxes or punch a hole through each card and create Revising and Editing rings! Have students use them each time they complete a piece of writing. These also work great for peer editing!
What are your favorite tools for editing and revising?