Editing to Perfection!

Shew...two more instructional days until state testing and we are oh so ready! My kids couldn't be more excited to knock the socks off of this PASS Writing Assessment. My kids love testing...super weird...I know! Maybe it has a little something to do with our competitive nature and/or something about trying to become the smartest class in South Carolina. :) They will buy into anything...I swear! I love kids! 

We have spent this week really getting our writing "championship ready" and all of our writing practice this year is paying off big time. Praise the LAWD! I didn't want for the kids to become overly bored with writing prompts this week, so we have done a few things to spice them up! I have one more trick up my sleeve for Monday that they know absolutely nothing about. Hopefully that will be the final prep that we need to go into our testing on Tuesday 100% ready and confident. 

One major thing that we have been working on this week? Editing skills...dun, dun, dun! We have talked about rereading your paper and naturally, I have told them they better do this *at least* 1,000,000 times before turning their paper into me. However, I quickly learned that just telling them to read and reread was getting us absolutely NO where. In our reading groups, we have talked about close reading, so I thought...why not make our reading skill also becoming a writing skill? So, I give you...CLOSE editing. 

After analyzing several of our classmates papers, we identified our biggest areas of concern. I mean, you can't go into the championship game with areas of weakness...so we knew we needed to fix these things ASAP! After our analysis, we created five steps to close editing which provided the students with a purpose {duh...right?} for editing their paper each time they reread. Then, we assigned colors to each step and wrote the steps on matching stickies.

Here is how the editing goes down... 

On the first rereading of their paper, they simply reread to correct mistakes that really stand out. Then, they go back to the beginning and reread for spelling. Next comes capital letters. During this rereading, they have to reread and stop at each period, question mark, or exclamation point and highlight the next letter to make sure that it is capitalized along with searching for proper nouns. On the fourth rereading, they check for punctuation. To keep them from just skimming to highlight their punctuation, they have to stop at the end of each sentence and use self questioning strategies to identify the sentence structure and sentence type to check for appropriate punctuation. Finally, they reread for clarity to check for grammar and see if their writing makes sense. I know...I know...seems like a lot! BUT...that is the name of the game! Plus, they love to see their paper transform into a rainbow! 

During each stage of editing, the students collect a highlighter to match that step.  We realized that if our paper did not look like a rainbow at the end of our editing, we clearly had not done our best job of editing. It TOTALLY clicked! A perfect visual right at the perfect time.  

I think that one of the biggest reasons this was so successful for my kiddos had to do with the way that we broke it down. Kids become so overwhelmed when they are looking for everything all at once. By breaking it down to a step-by-step process, they were able to really identify their mistakes and find weaknesses that they need to be cautious of during the writing process. Plus, they totally loved this. I think it was the different colored highlighters, but hey...as long as it makes them happy, happy, happy...I am 100% about it. 

Here is a look at some of our mad editing skills...

Two more days until we show S.C. what we've got! We are working on some more editing skills tomorrow...per their request! 

What are some things that you have found to build strong writing skills in your classroom? 


  1. I like this idea....now how to catalog it in my brain so I can do it too! :-)

  2. This is awesome!! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I really like this idea - but I would defintitely need more highlighters - right now each student has just one!

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  4. I am going to try this with my students. Thank you so much for sharing this great idea for editing.

  5. Fabulous idea!!! Thanks so much for sharing it!!

    Mrs. B's Nook

  6. I love the idea with the highlighters. I used to use a similar system but I didn't think about having them highlight the parts in the own writing. Thank you for the wonderful idea!


    Ms. Richards's Musings

  7. Love, Love, Love this! I am totally going to implement this next year! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I love this idea!!! I will definitely be using this! I have been looking for close reading ideas and was wondering what you have your kids do each time they read a text? How do you use the color coding system and what strategies do you have them work on each time? Thanks for the fabulous ideas!!!

    Charming in Third

  9. Oh my god this is perfect for teaching editing and revising. I currently teach 3rd grade in rural Alaska and am always looking for ways to help my ELL students understand the writing process. Can I "pretty please with sugar on top" PIN this to my writing Pinteresting board?? I love the idea and don't want to forget it.

    Miss Wilson

  10. Hope,

    I teach second grade and although we don't have writing "tests" per say.. I am always looking for better ways to improve our writing! I love how you took the "close reading" technique and applied it to editing! It is a perfect analogy and you are right, students do get overwhelmed by looking over their papers. Its nice to have a goal each time they read through it! Thanks for sharing and I am pinning this so I can keep it fresh in my mind!

    The Applicious Teacher

  11. Love, love, love this editing idea! Oh my goodness! I just pinned it so I am sure to use it! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Great idea! Good luck on PASS! We've been busy getting ready, too:)

  14. What a wonderful idea! I love the visual it provides! Thanks Hope :)

  15. This is great!!!! I do this on a smaller scale in 2nd grade, but since it's later in the year now, I don't know why we couldn't do all of it. It's worth a try. Good luck on the test. With a teacher like you, I know those kiddos will do great!!


  16. I teach middle school struggling readers and need every trick I can find to get them to SEE their errors. I'm thinking using colored pencils would work as well as the highlighters, and they already have those. Thanks for this great idea! =)

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