Editing Within a Fiction Unit

I recently worked on an editing lesson with a Grade 5 class, within a short story fiction unit. One of the difficulties with editing at this grade is student engagement and care when editing longer pieces of text, so here is a possible strategy for assisting with this.

We started the session by sharing the importance of precise editing before publishing one's writing and the impact that errors can have on a reader. We looked at a short story mentor text to examine conventions and paragraph layout. We then looked at a strategy for effective editing of common errors, using technology to assist, with a focus on:
  • Grammar  (tense and sentence construction)
  • Spellings 
  • Punctuation
  • Paragraphs
The suggested strategy was a 30 minute student self edit of their own writing and then a 15 minute final edit of their partner's piece. We made this into a game, by offering the student who found most errors in their partner's piece a reward of a Mini Mars Bar, which proved a major motivation for scouring with a fine tooth comb.

Student Self Edit 
  • Copy and paste the document into Pages and turn on 'Proofread as you type. (Look under the Edit tab). 
  • 1st read through: deal with highlighted errors.
  • 2nd read through: a general look at glaring errors - e.g. Missing words or punctuation, tenses, homophone errors.
  • 3rd read through: a careful read through paragraph by paragraph, reading aloud quietly.
  • Paste the edited text into a new Google Doc and share with their writing partner.
Peer Edit

  •  Open their partner's Google Doc and highlight and comment on any errors using the following codes:
S= Spelling
P= Punctuation
T= Tense
CL= Capital Letter
? =Does not make sense

As they were editing, the teacher and I were moving around the room, assisting with any questions. The great thing about this session was that there was a sense of urgency about the editing task and it was evident that students were really focused and eager to learn about and amend conventions. 

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