Lesson plan

Polishing Student Writing with Peer Editing

With this lesson you can teach students to be peer editors. Students will sharpen their writing skills by learning to provide pointed feedback to their peers in the form of compliments, suggestions and corrections.
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  • Students will practice editing a piece of writing, using the CSC model (Compliments, Suggestions, Corrections).
(5 minutes)
  • Select a handful of students to stand in the front of the room in a line. Play a quick game of telephone using a longer sentence or possibly two sentences.
  • Explain that like the game of telephone, the purpose of writing is to effectively communicate a message or idea from one person to another, and many times our message does not get interpreted the way we intended.
  • One way to make sure that your writing is being understood by the reader is to have others read it and offer feedback - that is called peer editing.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to your students that writing is an iterative process and that professionally published pieces go through many (sometimes 100s of cycles) of revision.
  • Explain that you are going to teach them how to give feedback on others’ work so that your community of writers can support each other and their writing.
  • Ask students what they hope others think about the quality of their writing when they are done reading; discuss.
  • Ask students what kind of feedback they would want on their piece of writing to make it as strong as possible. Write their answers on the board. This can also be done in small groups and then shared with the class. Show them that student responses fall in three basic categories: compliments, suggestions and corrections.
  • Ask them if there is any kind of feedback that they would NOT find helpful. (Put downs, rude comments)
  • Explain that even though they’ll be getting helpful feedback, THEY are still the authors and only THEY get to make the final decisions on their pieces.
(15 minutes)

Pass out the worksheet that goes along with this lesson. Address the questions at the top of the sheet. You can have students write their responses or simply discuss:

  • What is the purpose of peer editing? Suggested: To provide feedback on other’s work to help their piece be clear, error-free, and engaging.
  • What kind of stance (attitude) should you have when editing the work of others? Suggested: Supportive and caring.
  • Who gets to make the final decision about changes to a piece of writing? Suggested: The author.
  • What are three different kinds of feedback we will be providing to others? Suggested: Compliments, suggestions, and corrections.

Discuss examples of each of the three kinds of feedback and create “word/phrase banks” for each kind for students to use as a reference.

Go over the directions in the editing practice part of the worksheet and model editing the title and first sentence together.

(15 minutes)
  • Have students continue on the worksheet by practicing giving feedback in each of the three ways discussed (compliments, suggestions, and corrections)


  • Have students work in pairs.
  • Group struggling students together and work with them at a separate table so they can go through it with you.


  • Have students compare their feedback with another student’s feedback.
  • Challenge students to rewrite this short essay considering their feedback and strengthen the argument providing one more reason.
(10 minutes)
  • Circulate the room to view student progress and assess student understanding.
  • Review student feedback as a class providing examples/models of constructive feedback.
  • Extension: Have students review one another’s writing using the same method; exchange stories/essays in groups of 2-3.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students what other ways we use our peers for support.
  • Review the three kinds of feedback.

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