Revising & Editing
The revising and editing process is a cornerstone of the Collins Writing Program. Students need direct instruction and guided practice as they learn to become proficient editors of their own work, and, even moreso, the work of others. We train teachers in how to incorporate four key strategies into their writing routine. See our Free Resources page for more on Revising and Editing.
Three Step Editing
One of the main reasons students are poor at revising and editing is that they simply don’t know how to do it! In Three Step Editing, the teacher leads students through an I-Do, We-Do, You-Do process of reviewing student samples of writing in real-time. Students view samples of volunteered student work on a document camera or digital whiteboard and work together to determine how well each piece meets the selected FCAs. This process calibrates teacher expectations, models the revision and editing process, and provides writers with clarifications that they can apply to their own writing before submitting it.
Most students are reluctant to read their own writing before turning it in and, even when reminded to “check their work,” often fail to do so. The Oral Reading routine provides students with dedicated time to read their work out loud to themselves–helping to slow down the process and focus on how their writing sounds. Lengthy editing checklists are replaced with key questions: Does my right make sense? Does it sound right? Did I meet the FCAs? During this process, students frequently “hear” mistakes that their eyes didn’t see, and establish a lifelong habit used by professional writers.
Focused Editing Tasks
Students need concrete instructions when it comes to checking their work, and they need to visibly show that they have done so. Focused Editing Tasks do just that. Most often tied to the FCAs, Focused Editing Tasks ask students to underline their thesis statement, number their cited text details, highlight the content vocabulary words used, etc. Students love “marking up” their work and showing proof of how they have met each FCA–and these “mark-ups” make scoring a breeze for busy teachers!
Focused Editing Tasks
See Focused Editing Tasks in action across grade levels and content areas.
Focused Editing Tasks make revising and editing tangible for students and visible to teachers.
When it comes to peer-editing, students need a lot of support. Type Four writing combines Oral Reading and Focused Editing in a carefully-structured shoulder-to-shoulder peer-editing experience. Students work side-by-side to provide each other with feedback on the FCAs and to help each other find and fix common errors. While it may not always yield perfect papers (because kids are kids after all!) Type Four writing builds collaborative and critical thinking skills and helps students establish life-long habits.
Where do conventions fit in? Are the mechanics of writing still important?
Yes! Convention rules, such as using commas correctly in compound sentences or capitalizing titles of books, make great FCAs and can therefore be targeted during the revising and editing process. Three Step Editing is the perfect time to point out common errors and train students to find them on their own. Oral reading helps students slow down enough to notice these often-overlooked mistakes. And Focused Editing Tasks tied to mechanics FCAs add an extra layer of accountability.
Our Essential Conventions Check Mate materials are specially designed to support teachers looking to improve students’ mechanics with clear rules, built-in accountability, and less burden on teachers to catch all those errors!
How do I get started with revising and editing?
Before collecting your next written assignment, carve out 5 minutes of class time and ask students to read their work out loud to themselves. Watch as students read and follow up with a brief discussion of any changes students made to their writing during this oral reading process. Click here for a detailed How-To and more ideas.