Today is another day of controlled chaos. Every student is at different stages in the writing process. You are going to continue with writing conferences and editing today while still making sure the class is on task.
Today is one of the hardest days for students. Today's lesson addresses standard W1.5 -With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed. Both peers and the teacher can talk until they're blue in the face about changing the writing to make it better, but students actually have to implement the changes suggested. This can be hard for some students. Even though this is hard for many of my students I can't have my students back away from the challenge. If I have the mentality of "This is too hard for my students. The teacher next year can handle this." there is no way they will ever have the opportunity to reach the anchor standard of W.5 - CCRA. W.5 - Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. If they fall on their face with editing - O.K. That just tells me we need more experience with editing, more conferencing with the teacher and possibly some 1 on 1 help. The whole researching/writing process is a rigorous one. It would be silly for me to think that 100 %of my students are going to attain mastery the first time we go through this process and that's exactly what I'm keeping in mind as we go through this together.
I edited the peer editing video from yesterday. I wanted to show two students on the opposite end of the spectrum that demonstrates exactly what I'm talking about. The first little boy just kept reading his partner's work. There were many mistakes and he just kept reading, not noticing them. This is why I had to start offering feedback and asking questions. Right now he is far from mastering this standard. On the other end of the spectrum we have 1 of the 2 girls starting to offer some constructive feedback to her partner. She is on her way and starting along the path to being able to achieve both the first grade and anchor standard for W.5. Check out the video here in the resource section.
Make sure you have plenty of journal paper on hand so students can write and have extra 5 star checklists in case someone has lost theirs.
I quickly explained my expectations for the day. I said, " If you are ready to conference with me you can meet me at the reading table and we will have our conference. After we've conferenced I will give you paper to start your good copy. Some of you may already be on your good copies. When you are done with your good copies you will have to find a partner to do one last peer edit. You will read your partner's paper to make sure it makes sense and you have all the components on your rubric. Really look for correct capitals, punctuation, and spacing in particular. Once your partner has put their initials you will bring every single paper we've used in this project and I will staple everything together. Remember your illustrations are just as important as the writing.
We continued peer editing and conferencing, focusing on the Common Core language standards. I collected all papers when students were finished. This way, I have evidence and can take several grades from this project. You can take reading grades with the student packet, and writing and grammar grades with the writing.
When students were done with the whole process, I kept them working. You always have to keep those advanced students busy. Students could keep circulating around the room to help peer edit. Another thing I like to do when my advanced students are finished is to have them help my strugglers. I've created a classroom community where students are so kind to each other. My advanced kids help my strugglers without belittling them. They love being a mini-teacher and this way I don't have behavior problems arise in the classroom either.
Since today was the last day in our writing unit, I called the class to the carpet. I partnered kids up. I said, "Talk to your partner and tell them 2 things you learned about honeybees that you didn't know before." Then we shared as a class. Then I said, " Talk with your partner about something you learned about how to structure your writing. What do good writers do? How does analyzing the main idea and details in a story help you to write your own story?"