Proofreading and Editing Day 1 of 2

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SWBAT find and correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation errors.

Big Idea

Learning proofreading edit marks is another written language, one we can’t assume students know.

Get Ready

20 minutes

This is Day 8 of our Biography Writing Unit, and it might be the hardest lesson so far.  The CCSS say “with guidance and support from adults and peers…strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.” We are going to focus on editing first. When we get to publishing digitally, I will guide the students in revising.  Editing will take two days. Part one is learning how to edit, and part two is editing their peers’ and their own work.

I place a variety of dictionaries on each table.

I placed the shortcut for on the student computer desktops.

I have an old Mac that has a dictionary program in the tool bar available, too.

I have some hand held spell checkers, but the CCSS states “reference materials such as beginning dictionaries,” to correct spelling, and I am not sure spell checkers qualify. Besides, they are difficult to use, and ever so interesting with all those buttons. I can see our work time evaporate! I rejected that form of technology.

Gather to the rug.

Boys and girls, we are getting so much closer to publishing our biographies. I am so excited to see our work in the front hall. I know that visitors coming into school will LOVE reading your work and learning about our people. Our next step is to look hard at our work and make it shiny and ready to be seen by the public.

We are going to PUBlish for the PUBlic! And if our work is for the public it must be clear and attractive. Showing off our mistakes is like showing our underwear! We all wear it, we all make mistakes, but we don’t want to show it in public! We are dressing our writing up to go to the front hall!

(More than one study has found a correlation between displaying student work – particularly exemplary work – and academic excellence in schools of high poverty, so I am truly excited for these biographies written by second graders to be displayed.)

So wait till you see this little video I found that tells about punctuation. It clarified for me why we use punctuation! Watch…

I am affecting a very upbeat, “this is fabulous” attitude, because children often can’t see their mistakes, and when an adult points them out, the child is disheartened. I am attempting to use some gimmicks today, AND keep the “rigor” the CCSS stresses. I start with a You-tube video about punctuation. I chose it because I did a pretty detailed lesson on the word clarify, and this video will reinforce that concept. Plus, I like the message, that punctuation adds clarity. I will extend that to spelling and capitalization as well.

I show the video.


Get Set

15 minutes

Demonstration of editing marks

  • I introduce editing checklist with the doc camera. My editing checklist is from Writing A-Z. It is a subscription site, but I made a word doc version that can be tailored to an individual teacher's needs. (See resource.)
  • I show a paragraph with errors. I mark the errors.
  • Show another one.  Ask for volunteers to help mark errors 


Go to Work

20 minutes

Hand out a practice page with two paragraphs to partners.

Hand out ink pens. Direct the pairs to play rock, paper, scissors to decide who holds the pen for the first paragraph.  One partner wields the pen; the other partner points out the errors and tells what proofreading symbol to mark it with.  I have clipboards in my room, so one partner is the "pen partner" and one is the "clipboard partner" who has the rough draft on the clipboard.

Clipboard partner proofread the top paragraph and show the errors to your partner.  Pen partner mark the errors using the editing marks. I give them work time.

Switch roles. Second partner proofread the bottom paragraph. First partner mark the errors.  Bio. Peer editing.mp4


I project the completed paragraph with the appropriate editing marks using my doc camera.

Fold your paper in half. Crease it hard. Tear it in half. Each partner take a half.

Write LOOK! I’m an editor! on your half of the page.

Put it in your take-home. Show your families. Give me back my editing pen!


5 minutes

Tomorrow, boys and girls, we will edit our biographies. Tell your neighbor what we were looking for today. (Spelling, punctuation and capitals.) What is the purpose of punctuation, spelling and capitals? To make my writing clear.

 If the students don’t use the word clarify, I will.