Today students will be finishing up with their peer editing and you will begin student/teacher conferences. I am using a rubric that someone in my district wrote and what I'm required to use. You may want to use another rubric - the important thing about this lesson is that you are offering quality feedback and constructive ways that you can have students improve their writing.
What makes today's lesson rigorous is the conferencing and editing. When you conference, edit, and refine, students need to listen to feedback and then actually implement that feedback. This is hard for first graders in some instances. Editing is the final step in the research process. By the time you reach the editing process, students just want to be done with their writing. The more you have students practice conferencing and editing, you are helping them to build stamina so they can now see the project through from beginning to end.
You will need either your rubric or the copy I have provided for you in the resource section today. You will also need more copies of the journal paper so students can complete their good copies. I make the copies in the resource section into a double sided copy. Then I take the second page and make that into a double sided copy as well. I staple the two double-sided copies together. This way students have plenty of lines to write on and no one can give you the excuse that they ran out of room to write.
Since we were in the home stretch and everyone wanted to get to work, I explained what we were doing quickly. I said, "After you have edited your work with a peer you will come to me and have a conference with me. We will sit down and I will read your work. I will give you a score based on the rubric I will be using today. I will highlight which scores I give you in one color of highlighter. After you have made changes I will read your work again. Because you will make your writing better, I will show your higher score in a different color of highlighter so you can see which areas you improved upon. Does everyone understand?" Then the students got to work.
Every student was at different stages in the writing process. My slow pokes were still finishing their sloppy copies and then I still had students working on peer editing and my higher achieving students were ready to conference with me. My room was noisy, but if a guest walked into the classroom, they would see students who were focused and on task.
When students were done conferencing with me, I gave them new paper and they wrote their good copies. When students were done with their good copies I collected all their papers. You can take so many grades from this writing project. You can take reading grades from the student packet and you can take language arts grades from the writing itself but also for the maps that they used to plan their writing.
I kept my high achieving students busy. When they were finished with their writing I would have them help other students. I had students helping some of my strugglers to write and edited their work for them. My high achievers really like to help others. I have created a classroom community where children are kind to one another so even though there is a huge range in ability no one is ever belittled or made to feel bad.
This lesson is listed at being approximately 1 hour long. I only have about 30 minutes to teach writing each day, so it did take me more than one day to complete this lesson. You can adjust the time and decide where you might divide the lesson to meet your own needs.
Since this was the last day of our unit I called all the students to the carpet. I partnered the students up and I had them talk to each other about what they learned about crabs. Unlike the honey bee lesson though I had them talk about something different this time as well. I said, "Now talk to your partner about what you learned about our writing process. What are some things you learned about the writing process? What did you learn about how you can improve your writing? How have you gotten better since our last story when writing expository text? What did you like about the way we structured our story? How did that structure help them to get their ideas across clearly to their reader? " After partners talked about this we shared as a class. This discourse is important because students really learn from each other.