Peer Editing: Student Voice in Writing

Peer editing is a tool I used constantly as a 6th grade writing teacher. It helped every student have a voice in the editing process.

Photo of Emma Scripps
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Grade level: Middle School

Content Area: ELA  - but would be good for any teacher who incorporates writing into their classroom. 


Overview

As a 6th grade writing teacher, I used peer editing to help students find voice in the editing process and decide for themselves and with each other what needed adjusting and enhancing in their writing process. 


Here's how to set it up: 

1. Norms: Set up strong norms around what it means to be an editor. These norms should come from the students with your guidance! 

2. Guideposts:  Brainstorm with students categories for useful feedback. For example, feedback could fall into categories such as "I liked when..."  and "Some suggestions for improvement are ..." and "Vocabulary words I loved were/Vocabulary words I thought could be improved..." Also, share how to make edits for quick grammatical fixes. 

3. Intentional Grouping:  Strategically pair students with each other based on different or similar strengths. This helps students learn from and with each other. 

Important to know: 

  • Spend a lesson on what strong constructive feedback really looks like. Model it.  Have other students model it.  This has learning benefits across all subjects and help students be productive and supportive collaborators. 


Sources for further inspiration: 

I was obsessed with Read, Write, Think when I was an English teacher. Here is their tutorial on how to create classrooms with strong habits around peer editing. 

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Photo of Sarah Napoliello
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Love this! It is something I have done with my classes also, there is always so much great insight that comes out of it. The hard part for me has been getting the students to dive deep into each others' writing and give useful feedback. So I appreciate how you explain that part should be a separate lesson and practice.

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