Reflection: Modeling Writing a Friendly Letter to Our Favorite Author - Section 4: Peer Editing


I have found that it takes a whole lot of work to show students how to peer edit well.  Students need to be shown how to offer feedback without hurting their peer's feedback.  They also need to be shown what to look for as they are editing. I have found that having students use a checklist is a lot easier than using a complicated rubric when they edit. Students are not going to be expert editors right away.  Like anything, they need to practice this skill.  Modeling is the key to set your students up for success though.

I love using humor in my room to break down the fear that some of my students may have.  I chose a student who would play their part well in an editing skit.  For this reason, I chose a strong student because he would be silly with me and he could find the mistakes in my letter that I would be posting for the rest of my class. 

To prep for the lesson, I brought my gifted student outside to the hall before we did our editing.  I told him that we were going to model how to edit.  I said, "There are lots of mistakes in my letter that we're going to show the rest of the students.  I want you to pretend to read it and say, 'There are lots of mistakes in here you big dummy!' so we can show the others what NOT to say to each other.  I'm going to pretend to cry like you hurt my feelings. We're really going to ham it up."  Well of course when he did that children were shocked and then laughed when I fake-cried.  We had a class discussion about how we can offer feedback to each other without hurting our partners feelings.  I said, "What could he have said instead of calling me a big dummy?"

Then we went through each point on the checklist. You can see my mock letter here: Editing Example Friendly Letter.pdf.  Since my partner was so strong, he was able to find all my mistakes and I kept probing him with questions like, "What are you going to say to me if you find a mistake?  How could you word that so I wouldn't get mad at you?"  I also asked my class for suggestions of what they could say to their partners.  Once my student was done editing my work I said, "Now that my letter is done being edited, I will now get a chance to edit my partner's work, keeping in mind to be kind as I offer feedback."

To wrap up the modeling portion I said, "Your partner is just trying to make your letter better, so don't get mad at their suggestions."

  Modeling: Setting Students up for Success With Peer Editing
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Writing a Friendly Letter to Our Favorite Author

Unit 22: Writing Activities
Lesson 1 of 3

Objective: SWBAT implement peer editing strategies when writing a friendly letter to a famous author.

Big Idea: We love studying authors in my class. This lesson provides that real life connection with writing a friendly letter to a real audience.

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