March 16, 2017
by Anna Whaley

Lesson plan

Rethink, Revise, Rewrite

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  • Students will use strategies for revising and editing their work.
  • Students will collaborate with peers to revise their work.
(5 minutes)
  • Display a sample of student writing and ask students to make observations about the writing. Ask the students: “What do you notice?”
  • Tell the students that they will be learning how to revise and edit their work with their peers using compliments, suggestions, and questions.
(15 minutes)
  • Remind the students that revising involves changing their writing, such as in changing word choices or adding details. Editing is making corrections, such as correcting spelling or punctuation errors.
  • Read the sample text together, with a focus on replacing vague words or descriptions with more vivid and precise options. Take student suggestions for improvements that make the text more dynamic and alive. Remind students that this is the process of revising.
  • Continue with the process of editing for punctuation and spelling.
  • Introduce the process of peer editing. Tell the students that feedback is when one person provides feedback on their peers’ work. Display the following words by writing them on a whiteboard or displaying them on a poster: constructive, kind, and specific. Tell the students that the word constructive means that something is useful and helpful. Invite students to share examples of kind words. Tell the students that when feedback is specific it is accurate and not vague. If desired, write these words on the board so that students remember to consider these words during their peer conferences.
  • Invite a student volunteer to come to the front of the classroom with a piece of their writing (or a writing sample of your choice) and act out a peer editing conference with you. Discuss ways that students can give feedback that is constructive, kind, and specific.
  • Tell the students that they will be helping their peers with compliments, suggestions, and questions. Model the process of making a compliment with the student’s writing. Continue with suggestions and questions in the style of a mock peer conference.
  • Rewrite a section of the student’s writing.
(10 minutes)
  • Invite several students to volunteer sharing a piece of their writing. This could be a journal entry, a recent writing prompt, or another writing sample. There should be one volunteer for every three or four students.
  • Ask the students to circle in small groups and to prepare to analyze a student’s writing. Remind students that their feedback should be kind, constructive, and specific.
  • Distribute a prepared index card to each student. Ask students to write down compliments, suggestions, and questions on the index card.
  • As students collaborate, walk around the room and observe students, providing additional modeling, as needed. If needed, probe the students with the questions: Is your feedback constructive? Is it kind? Is it specific?
(20 minutes)
  • Divide students into pairs and ask students to choose an essay or journal entry to share with their partner.
  • Distribute the Partner Proofreading worksheet to each student.
  • Students will exchange essays. On the top of each worksheet they will record suggestions that they have for their partner’s writing. Once they have completed making suggestions, they will once again exchange worksheets and writing pieces. (This time they will have the notes from their partner and their original writing.)
  • On the bottom of the worksheet, the students will reflect on what their partners suggested or asked. On the bottom of the page they will write what they noticed and then rewrite a section of their writing to make it better. (This could also include adding details.)


  • Ask students to read a magazine or newspaper article written for fifth grade students. Challenge students find ways to make the article more interesting, including what details can be added.


  • Underline sections of student essays to draw attention to areas of focus for self-editing.
  • Work with a small group of students, reteaching editing and revising skills, as needed.
  • Ask students to complete “Watch Out!” worksheet in which students practice basic editing and revising skills.
  • Instead of using paper forms of writing, have the students use Google documents and the commenting feature to comment on each other’s writing during the independent practice time.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask the students to complete the assessment worksheet Proof the Paragraph.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask the students to complete an exit card in which they write one thing that went well, one thing that could be improved, and an example of a comment from their peer that was most helpful. Invite students to share with the class.
  • Remind students that it is important that the information that is shared between peers is constructive, kind, and specific. The purpose of giving feedback is so that students can help each other make their writing better.

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