I am lucky that all the students in my class have laptops and can create much of their work on the computer.  I teach three special education English classes and was trying to figure out a way teach editing to my students that would not be “booooorrrrrrriiiiinnnnnnngggggg.
Yesterday we were editing a sample of the Letter of Introduction assignment on the whiteboard and this morning I got thinking about possibly doing this for all the students this morning.  All but one of the students created their Letter of Introduction on their laptops, so I decided that I would ask for volunteers to read and the have the class participate in editing their document.

I couldn’t believe the effect that it had on all three classes, I did a little pre-teaching on how to be positive and not attempt to “put down” anyone’s work, let’s just make it better for each.  Initially, each class was a little hesitant to put their work up on the board, but as soon as one person volunteered and then “we” edited their work, others wanted the help of the class to improve their work.

I only had one student act out while editing on the whiteboard and I simply unplugged the projector and asked him to re-take his seat.  The student thought about it for a minute and then did what I asked – I got lucky :).
It was a collaborative effort and some didn’t mind showing their work on the screen, but didn’t want to read it out loud and offered me a different solution…use the text to speech function of the Mac read their work out loud.

I hadn’t thought of doing this and when the first student suggested it, I had to think about it for a minute before I said yes.  In my opinion it showed that the student was thinking outside the box and also showed the other students another tool to use in editing their own papers.  I had to laugh when the “reader” butchered a couple of papers, but the kids understood the mistakes better. I wonder if they will use this new to them tool to improve their work??? Time will tell.

I think that the students learned more about editing and writing mechanics in those short classes than they have in a long time.  It showed them mistakes that they were all making and that they were all having a hard time with writing mechanics.  Instead of correcting each draft individually without anyone else seeing their paper they were given the opportunity to see what others are doing.

It is a strategy that I plan to use again, I think it was a lot more effective than many of the “editing” plans out there or things that I have done in the past and I did it almost by accident.  The students (I think) actually enjoyed this in class work session and I hope that they can retain some of what we learned today.

I know that this is Web1.0, but in this case I have to work in stages toward my goal for these classes.  My goal is to get my students ready for blogging during the 3rd and 4th quarters.  We will see if they progress to this point.
Have you used something like this in your class…how did it work for you?

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