Sunday, November 10, 2013

Finally! Peer Revising/Editing Worked In My Classroom!

I love teaching students the writing process and how to get their thoughts and ideas down on paper. But, it was so difficult for them to understand that a writer writes more than one draft...sometimes many drafts. My students would look over their own paper and correct misspelled words and check for punctuation errors. However, peer editing/revising, that just didn't work at all in my room. I was also wracking my brain on getting them to understand that editing and revising are two different things.
I used to always confer with them during our writing time, but this usually ended up with me editing and revising their paper for them, which ultimately turned their paper into my paper. It also took up a lot of time for me to conference with all 35 of my kids. This year I changed things up a lot and it worked!

My students have been working on writing a memoir from the perspective of  Jeffery (from the novel Maniac Magee) and discussing the many factors that caused him to change and how change has played a positive or negative role in his life. After a few weeks of modeling and teaching the process of writing metacognitively. They were ready to peer edit/revise their papers.
A little background: This year, I had my students edit/revise after they drafted each paragraph (this worked out well and allowed them to limit their focus on one paragraph at a time. Once they had their whole paper written, they were to edit/revise it again from the introduction to the conclusion. Then when that was finished, they were ready to have a peer edit/revise their paper.


I used a few check off sheets for (specifically for a memoir) them to use during their own editing/revising and then a few sheets they would use during their peer edits/revisions. The check off sheets worked well! I had a chart on the wall that they signed their name to when they were ready for a peer edit/revision. I sat down with the first few students to discuss and review what my expectations were during this process.  What was great that those first few students were able to then "teach" and "reiterate" the peer edit expectations to their classmates.

The greatest part of this was my students were so engaged in all aspects of the writing process. I was walking around the room as a facilitator. It was great to see my students grab dictionaries, thesauruses, and their interactive ELA journals for reference.

Once they were done with their peer edits, their papers had been revised 2 to 3 times. I looked over their papers before they could move on to the publishing phase. However, I didn't edit or revise their paper. I really want their writing to be as authentic as possible. This allowed me to take note of what mini lessons I will need to teach in the future. Of course if I noticed anything that really needed to be taken care of I addressed it. There were some instances in which the peer editor didn't do the job they were supposed to. In this case, I advised the student to have one more peer editor look over their paper. I also had discussion with those whose revisions weren't up to par.

All in all, everything went smooth and I believe my kids are learning that writing is a process and a long process at that.  A few of them are now typing out their papers, which was another lesson in itself! They had no idea how to type a Word Document. Luckily, they caught on quickly!


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