Sometimes we have to do things in our classrooms that aren’t exactly “exciting” for our students… or for us teachers really. For me one of these is revising and editing. This is not something I particularly like to do for myself to begin with so sometimes it feels almost impossible to hook kids into this as a good practice.

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Usually when I have to teach a skill I think about what works best for me first – so I can share a personal story alongside my introduction sometimes – and then I talk to other people or use that wonderful Google tool to find other ways that can help as well. My most clear examples of revising and editing recently have been through blogging so when I went to introduce today’s activity with my class I told them how sometimes when I write a blog post I re-read it aloud to myself or someone else and that is when I notice things like word choice, sentences starters, etc. After my introduction (and the explanation of “why do we have to do this?”) we jumped right into a four part activity for editing:

We used our AB Partner list for these activities so that it was easy to switch partners after each round.

1. First Partner: With your first partner, take turns reading your stories aloud to one another. When you are listening think about the general flow of your partners story and if there are any parts that don’t make sense, are choppy, or sound a bit awkward. At the end of your turn listening give your partner some specific feedback. 12 minutes

2. Second Partner: After you switch partners, exchange your story with your new partner. Read through their story and use a highlighter to highlight parts or sentences that could use further description. If you have an idea write an example on the margin for them to look at later. 6 minutes

3. Third Partner: With your next partner, exchange your stories again. This time you are reading through for word choice. Underline any words that you think could benefit from being changed to a synonym or by adding another descriptive word. 4 minutes

4. Fourth Partner: Exchange your stories with your final partner and this time you are editing their work for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. 10 minutes. In my class we were looking at paragraph structure in particular and I also gave them an editing symbols key so that we would all be on the same page with the changes to be made.

Overall I was happy with the amount of discussion that was going on between partners. I think that talking about the words and sentences they chose really helped my students to think about the intention behind their words.

How do you do revising and editing in your class?

What lessons do you find the hardest to make interesting?

Meaghan