Editing Tip!

Writing is THE most challenging subject for me to teach. I enjoy teaching the writing process, but when it comes to ideas and voice I struggle to find ways to help my students sound like themselves, and not like me. 

I am working on that. Being a part of a new grade level (currently 3rd grade...previously 2nd grade for 6 years) and thus a new team, yay!! I am being introduced to many new teaching strategies and tips!

If you struggle to teach your students the importance of editing, here is a tip for you!

Give your students a piece of paper and give them 5 minutes to draw/sketch anything--pencil only, no color. 

**I had my students draw living systems because we had just begun our Science systems unit. 

Allow students a minute or two to chat with the person next to them about their sketch. 

What is it?
Why did you choose to draw that?

Next, pass out a ball of clay or mini tub of play dough.

Now, tell students they have 10 minutes to make a 3-D model of their drawing.

After 10 minutes, ask them to compare their drawing and their 3-D model. 

What is the same? 
What is different?
What did you change?
Why did you change it?
 This student made her cat's tail shorter. 
She said it looks "cuter" that way :) 

 This student gave his panda a stick of bamboo.
Panda bears need bamboo of course!
(and he labeled all of the parts of his living system... teacher's dream!)

After this 20 minute activity your students will SEE (and understand) that when we write our first draft (the drawing) we do our very best and believe it is great! But then, when we have the chance to make it better (3-D model) we often realize we can make it better by adding this, or taking away that: editing. 

And now, for the rest of the year, when it is time for you students to edit, and they say "I don't need to" or "I like it the way it is".... all you have to say is "Play dough" and they will smile at you and realize you are right. Teachers are always right :)

A student happily editing with her red pen and 
CUPS (capitalization, usage, punctuation, spelling) paper

Happy editing!


  1. I love this Sarah! And I think you can really teach this at all grade levels!

  2. Congrats on the new grade level :-) Both 2nd and 3rd are wonderful years. I like your suggestion of giving them a 5 minute time limit. What writing program do you use? Smiles and stop by anytime!