Informational Essay: Editing
Editing and fine-tuning a piece of written text is the focus of this informational writing lesson plan. Students will have the opportunity to strengthen their informational essay drafts by correcting errors in conventions and mechanics. Using an editing checklist and peer review to guide this critical step in the writing process, this lesson will help prepare students for the final step in the writing process: publishing their final draft.
Students will be able to make edits to their informational essay draft to eliminate errors in conventions and mechanics.
- Ask students to reflect about the current status of their informational essay and determine if it is ready for publishing. Ask them to think about what else they need to do in order to fine-tune their essay prior to publishing.
- Call on volunteers to share their reflections.
- Review the steps of the writing process that they have completed up to this point: brainstorming/prewriting, drafting, revising. Explain that the next step in writing an effective informational essay is editing.
- Emphasize that today, writers will focus on editing, which is when you take a close look at the words and sentences that you use, fixing any problems with grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(8 minutes)
- Define editing as the process of strengthening writing by correcting errors in conventions and mechanics. Remind the class that formal writing should be free of errors with correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, and word choice.
- Display a copy of the Editing Checklist worksheet, and distribute a copy to each student. Go over the items in the checklist.
- Use a portion of a body paragraph from the teacher example essay to model the process of editing. Below is an excerpt from a body paragraph in an essay that answers the research question, “How does pollution affect the ocean?”
- "Also the lifes of marine animals are in danger when they mistakenly consume litter in the ocean. When animals eat trash, they receive no nutritional value. According to National Geographic, this “makes it tough for an animal to have the energy to do everything it needs to do.” National Geographic also explains that the trash that marine animals consume is also harmful becuase they’re bodies can absorb the chemicals from plastic into there tissues. These chemicals become part of the food that humans consume."
- Think aloud about the edits this paragraph needs, and invite individuals to suggest edits, as well. Some edits include:
- Add a comma after the transition word.
- Change "lifes" to "lives," "becuase" to "because," "they’re" to their," "there" to "their."
- Edit repetitive words (the word "also" is used a few times in this excerpt).
Guided Practice(20 minutes)
- Tell the class that they will work in a partnership to edit a peer’s essay using the Editing Checklist worksheet. Then, they will discuss each other’s feedback.
- Encourage students to ask for clarification or explanation about any of their peer’s suggested edits. Record some sentence starters on the board to support the conversation:
- Can you explain what you mean?
- I suggested this edit because...
- Review respectful communication expectations (e.g., actively listening to the speaker, taking turns speaking, responding in a positive manner).
- Create student partnerships and give them ample time to peer edit before they briefly discuss their suggestions with each other.
- Call the class back together and ask 1–2 volunteers to share an edit they will make to their essay.
Independent working time(20 minutes)
- Instruct students to further review their peer’s suggested edits and identify any additional edits that would improve their informational essays. Then, they’ll begin rewriting their draft with the edits made.
- Invite students to work in a small, teacher-led group, and have students chunk their editing process by working on small sections of the draft at a time.
- Utilize a color coding system to support students as they identify areas to edit. For example, highlight all of the spelling errors with a yellow highlighter.
- Display a resource, such as an anchor chart, that details the conventions of citing evidence in text.
- Provide a refresher on common errors using the Commonly Confused Words #1 worksheet (see suggested materials).
- Challenge advanced writers to further explore varying the sentence structure in their informational essays. Provide them with a copy of the Is the Sentence Simple, Compound, Complex, or Compound-Complex? worksheet. Have them practice identifying sentences and then make edits to sentences in their essay.
- Circulate during the independent working portion of the lesson to evaluate student ability to identify and make edits.
Review and closing(2 minutes)
- Ask students to reflect on the following questions, and call on individuals to share with the group.
- What was easy about the editing process?
- What was challenging about the editing process?
- How will you use today’s exercise in the future?
- Preview the next step in the writing process, in which writers will publish the final copy of their informational essay. Explain that a published piece of writing should be typed neatly and professionally, should include a title and text features (if needed), and should be free from errors.