For today’s lesson, I start with a story (these always snag my kids right away!): “Boys and girls, I have to tell you something funny! Guess what happened last night? I was writing an e-mail to my grandma and I got up and walked away from the computer for a moment. When I came back, Mr. Hesemann said to me, “Hey, did you know there was a word misspelled in your e-mail?” I said, “Really?”, and he showed me right where it was! I had to laugh, because you know how important I think spelling is, don’t you?” All the kids comment and shake their heads in agreement! “So, I thought about this all night, and guess what I learned from this situation?” I let the kid share some of their answers. One of the kids says, “That Mr. Hesemann is a good speller?” I laugh and say, “Well, yes, of course, he is a good speller! But guess what else I learned?” Another student says, “That Mr. Hesemann can be a good helper!” I say, “YES! That’s right! That is what I thought! And not just Mr. Hesemann, but all of us! I think we can ALL help each other, just like Mr. Hesemann helped me! And that’s just what we’re going to do today-help each other with our writing!”
I pull up on my SMARTBoard a “sample” e-mail that I had been trying to send to my Grandma yesterday and share it with the class. I explain that thanks to Mr. Hesemann, he found misspellings for me. If he had been helping me with my work today, he could have crossed out the incorrect word and wrote the correct word for me above, like this (and I show how to make that editing mark). If he wasn’t sure, he could use a dictionary to check my spelling, too! Then I show how Mr. Hesemann could have made other changes to my writing, like those we’ve learned about already this year: fixing capital letters, fixing punctuation, changing “blah” words into more exciting words with a thesaurus, inserting more to explain better, etc.
I say, “So, today, when you’re reading each others’ stories, use these marks! This is what editing looks like-and it REALLY helps our writing get better!”
At this point, I pair up students to get going on each others’ writing. There are many ways I could pair students, but for today, I’m just using a randomizer (through a SMART Notebook file) that helps me choose two students at random to get together. This way students can see that EACH student, no matter who it is, has a valuable opinion that could help you improve your writing! You could also pull sticks, or whatever else you use, to pair students.
Once students have had one round of editing, as pairs finish, I re-pair them with a new partner. We keep going and re-pairing until we’ve had a few different sets of eyes on our work!
At the end of the lesson, I say, “If you can hear my voice, say, “Mrs. Hesemannn…” (The kids say, “Mrs. Hesemann…”) “If you can hear my voice, say, “my classmates are SO helpful!” (The kids say, “my classmates are SO helpful!”) I say, “You’re right! All of our classmates are SO helpful! As I was walking around and listening, I loved the feedback and help you were giving each other! It’s so nice to know we can count on each other to help each other get better at our important work of writing! Before we pack up today, I’ll take your papers so I can take a quick peak at your writing, too!” Then I collect papers so I can provide some “final” edits of my own!