Peer Review: Editing for Voice and Purpose at the Sentence Level

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SWBAT strengthen writing by editing and rewriting, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose by editing their Romeo and Juliet essays.

Big Idea

Today we peer edit, but the writers tell the editors what to do.

Getting Started

5 minutes

In the first few moments of class, students will arrange themselves in the same groups from the last class. We will review the Traits of Good Writing-- which they developed last class-- and I will explain the next step in the process, which is to peer edit using these traits as a guide.

Applying the 6 Traits of Good Writing

35 minutes

Students will exchange papers in the same groups of three that they worked in last class. Before they pass their paper to the left, each author will write the six traits they want their reader to focus on in each category in this worksheet. Here's a bit more information on the process.


The reader will read their peer's paper with these traits in mind. As they read, they will write troublesome sentences on the worksheet and suggest a way to rewrite each (W.9-10.5). I think this last step is a key element of the process. Often peer editing doesn't help because students merely correct grammar issues or draw a smiley face. While grammar and positive reinforcement are important, I want this time to be about constructive criticism, about becoming better, more confident writers. This is the last chance they have to receive formal feedback on their essays before they hand in a final version. Here is one example.

Sharing in Small Groups

15 minutes

After their reading time, each group will have time to talk with each other about what they noticed in their writing. Because they are working in groups of three, the conversation will sound a little differently than it usually does: they are not reading the essay of the person who is reading theirs. I will work to guide each small group conversation by directing the whole group. For instance, I will ask each group to focus on voice first and to discuss their conclusions, based on the essay from this morning, their peer's essay that they just read, and their own experiences writing (SL.9-10.1). It's possible that they did not edit for voice, but they can still share in the conversation, which will be broader than this one activity. 


I am leaving time for this conversation because it helps students contextualize this activity and the one prior. They will have been focused on the moment and can make connections if they are given time to think about everything they just accomplished. Plus, some students find their words as they say them. They need this time to process. 

Wrapping Up

5 minutes

In the last few minutes, I will ask students their opinions on this process. What was helpful? What did they learn? It's always good to involve students in the learning process and to remind them that they need to take some ownership of their education. If something doesn't work, we shouldn't do it. If it does work, we should recognize what's working.


For homework, students will write the final draft of the essay.