Writing Our Sloppy Copies and Peer Editing

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SWBAT revise and edit their writing with support from peers by transferring their ideas from their flow maps to a "sloppy copy."

Big Idea

Our stories begin to take shape on our writing paper, and we get to help each other edit our work.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

We have upped the rigor since our last unit where we wrote about sharks.  Today the students are going to transfer the information from their flow maps onto writing paper to make their sloppy copies.  When they are finished writing their sloppy copies each student will meet with a partner and use a checklist to do some peer editing on each other's papers. 

Over the years I have found some strategies that work well with our young students to help them successfully copy their boxes from the flow map onto their writing paper in the correct order.  I've shared this strategy with you in a video here in the resource section.  Watch the video titled "Transferring to Journal Paper- Elephants Transferring to Journal Paper - Elephant Writing.mp4 ".  Since your students were in control of their own writing, everyone's flow map will be different.  What I did in my classroom to make sure everyone was still on track given the control they had is I checked everyone's flow map to make sure they labeled the boxes correctly before I let them have any writing paper.

Today's lesson supports standard W.1.5 since we are working on revising and improving our writing. To meet this standard, I feel it's important that students are copying their flow maps correctly.  If the structure of the piece is disorganized, our students (who are all novice editors) are going to have a hard time helping each other edit.  This year, I have learned to be a lot less of a control freak when it comes to doing all the editing for my students.  Slowly but surely my students are getting better at finding errors in their peer's writing and helping to fix mistakes.  The important thing is that I keep offering opportunities for them to get better at editing.

For today's lesson, you will want either the Smartboard Elephant Writing.notebook or Activboard Elephant Writing.flipchart lesson.  You'll also want to copy enough of the Journal Paper Elephants and My Five Star Checklists for each of the students in your class.  If you have students that are early finishers and ready to conference with you, you might want to have copies of the rubric, 2013 Grade 1-2 Informational-Explanatory rubric.pdf, on hand so you can begin to conference with those students.

Explaining My Expectations

5 minutes

Just as I've explained in the video, Numbering Boxes and Modeling Journal Paper - Elephants.mp4, a good strategy is to show the students how to number their boxes in the correct order on their flow maps before they begin to write.  To do this, I pulled up my Smartboard lesson and showed the students how I would structure my writing.  Then I numbered my boxes, making sure my students understood not to number their subheading boxes.

Then I showed my students the new journal paper.  I explained how they would transfer their information to their writing papers.  As I've explained in the video, you just want to have students transfer their writing one section at a time.  This way, they aren't beginning a new section on the wrong piece of paper.  You may want to tell your students that, after they finish a section, they should raise their hands and have you quickly check.  By going around the room and spot checking you are helping to prevent students from writing on incorrect pages. 

Then I told my students that once they finished their writing, I would find them a partner and they would get to edit each other's work with a Five Star Checklist. They had done this before so they were comfortable with the process.

I had the students go back to their seats and number their boxes.  Before they could get any writing paper, I checked their flow maps and made sure that they had numbered their boxes correctly and that they didn't number their subheading boxes.

Writing Our Sloppy Copies and Peer Editing

30 minutes

Once the students were done numbering their boxes correctly and I had given everyone writing paper, the students started to write their sloppy copies.  It was very quiet in my room for this part because everyone was busy concentrating.

I took a lot of video for this part of the lesson (I didn't want to have huge video files, so I separated the students out into different videos).  I have 3 videos of students writing their sloppy copies:

  1. Writing Our Sloppy Copies - Elephants.mp4
  2. Writing Our Sloppy Copies Video 2 - Elephants.mp4
  3. Writing Our Sloppy Copies Video 3 - Elephants.mp4

I also have 3 videos of different groups doing their peer editing:

  1. Peer Editing - Elephants.mp4
  2. Peer Editing Video 2 - Elephants.mp4
  3. Peer Editing Video 3 - Elephants.mp4

Hopefully these give you an accurate reflection of how this looks in my classroom and what these parts of the lesson will look like in your classroom.

When students started to finish their sloppy copies, I found a partner for them and gave each set of partners a Five Star Checklist.  They found a corner of the room, exchanged papers, and each took a turn making sure their partner had each of the components on the checklist.  I love using the checklist for peer editing.  In my thinking, a full blown rubric would be too difficult for them to navigate when they are checking each other's work, so this is a good, simple structure for them to use.

Student/Teacher Conferencing

10 minutes

I have two really gifted students who always finish early and do their work very well, so I made sure to meet with these two students in a student teacher conference to help extend their work.  I used the rubric that I'm required to use by my district to help them, and, in case you would like to use it, I have included it for you here: 2013 Grade 1-2 Informational-Explanatory rubric(1).pdf

To support them, I had two colors of highlighters out.  I used one color as I conferenced with students.  I highlighted the aspects on the rubric that I thought the piece deserved at that point.  I made suggestions for them in order to improve their writing and move up the rubric.  These two students in particular need a challenge so I showed them ways they could make their writing more interesting by adding adjectives and adverbs.  I told them that if they implemented these suggestions they could turn their scores from 3's to 4's on the rubric.  I told them that the next time I would grade their work I would show their new score in a different color of highlighter.  This gives each student a visual cue as to where they improved as a result of implementing editing suggestions.


2 minutes

I wanted my students to think like writers, so I asked some process questions as part of our closure.  I asked, "Why do we even bother with peer editing?  What are the types of things you look for when editing your peer's paper?"  I wanted students to understanding that the editing process is a chance to work on improving the piece of writing and making it better.