Reflection: Complex Tasks Student/Teacher Conferences and Writing Our Good Copies - Section 1: Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

 

There are times in the editing process where I just want to pull my hair out.  You explain in detail how students can make specific changes to improve their writing, everyone is on the same page, and you send them off ... Then, when you check back in, none of the changes have been made!  It doesn't help that usually every one of your students is in a different place in their writing.  Many years ago, when I was a new teacher I thought, "First graders can't edit.  Developmentally it is just too hard for them." It has been a learning process for me that has taken years to figure out how to manage a class during editing.

During editing you will see that some students are pretty good at offering feedback to their peers.  Other students will just read over their peer's mistakes as if nothing is wrong.  I have found several things to help my students with this.  If the line isn't too long for students who are waiting to conference with you, you can circulate around the room as students are editing and ask questions like, "What does a sentence need to have?  Does your partner have correct capitals and punctuation.  Can you show me how they used it correctly?"  If you keep questioning your students, striving to have them really pay attention to detail, they will often get to finding those mistakes.  Another thing you can do is purposely think ahead and partner a stronger writer with a lower writer as editing partners.  If you set up a classroom community where students help each other, then students can really learn from each other.

Yes, editing involves a lot of working memory, and it's a complex task for a first grader, but it's totally doable.  I now view editing as an opportunity to help students along the path of the W.5 anchor standard.  I don't expect them to master this standard by the end of first grade.  But if I get them on the path I know that other teachers can build upon what I've started with my students.

  Struggling Through Editing
  Complex Tasks: Struggling Through Editing
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Student/Teacher Conferences and Writing Our Good Copies

Unit 20: Expository Writing About Elephants
Lesson 7 of 7

Objective: SWBAT implement edits to strengthen their informational paragraph writing with guidance and support.

Big Idea: We are in the final stretch. Today the students are going to be conferencing with the teacher and implementing the teacher's suggestions when they write their final copies.

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