Lesson plan

Three-Step Peer Editing

Teach your students to edit peer writing with a three-step process that will improve their writing skills and overall confidence. In this lesson, students will practice editing short pieces of writing using specific criteria.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to edit peer writing using a three-step process: compliment, suggest, correct.

(5 minutes)
  • Show the Peer Editing video by Marie Claire Amorella to your students as an introduction to peer editing, or giving your friends helpful suggestions, comments, and compliments on their writing.
  • Review the three steps for peer editing that were introduced in the video: compliments, or things that you liked about the author's writing; suggestions, or specific ideas about the author’s word choice, use of detail, organization, topic, and clarity; and corrections, or making edits directly on the piece of writing to correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capital letters.
  • Remind your students to be nice while they edit their peer's writing, as it can sometimes be difficult to receive feedback. Discuss this aspect of peer diting as needed. Demonstrate how students should make suggestions by modeling nice language. For example: instead of saying "This doesn’t make sense," try saying, "This would be more clear if..."
(25 minutes)
  • Display the paragraph or poem you have prepared, ensuring that you have included some opportunities for revision. For example: Last summer I visited my cousin in new york. We visited the Statue a Liberty we ate pretzels. But my favorite part of the trip was walking threw Central Park. I can’t wait to visit again?
  • Read the paragraph aloud to your class.
  • Encourage your students to give compliments about the paragraph. Then, ask for specific and kindly-worded suggestions that will improve the story. Support your students as they come up with suggestions by helping them phrase their criticism in constructive, specific language. For example, instead of saying "This story is boring," try saying, "Adding some details would make this story even more interesting."
  • Ask the class to identify errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. As students suggest corrections, mark them directly on the chart paper with a red pen.
  • Point out an incomplete sentence or run-on sentence, or a sentence without proper punctuation or conjunctions, in your story. A run-on sentence may be: We visited the Statue a Liberty we ate pretzels.
  • Explain that some of the corrections they'll be making in their own writing or their peers’ writing will include incomplete or run-on sentences.
  • Show the Schoolhouse Rock Subjects and Predicates video by WritingClass to your class.
  • Hand out a copy of the Correcting Run-Ons and Incomplete Sentences worksheet to each student. Work through and complete the worksheet as a class.
(30 minutes)
  • Use a fishbowl technique to allow the class to observe a peer-editing session between two of their classmates.
  • First, choose one student to model a brief self-edit aloud using the editing checklist. Choose a student who has demonstrated a strong grasp of the editing process and grammatical concepts. Have the volunteer use a piece of writing that you provide or a journal or quickwrite that they've previously written. Facilitate as needed while the student goes through the process aloud. It's helpful to display the editing checklist on a projector during this process so that all students can see the steps visually.
  • Review the self-editing process with the class. Explain that before the peer editing process, it is important to check one's own writing and make corrections.
  • Invite a second student to come join the first and have the two students sit in a central location so that the class can see and hear them. Have the second student model a peer-edit of the first student's writing. Facilitate as needed as the students work through the peer-editing process.
  • Invite the entire class to discuss the peer-editing process they observed, specifically ways in which the process of editing might help the author and editor improve their writing.
  • Distribute the Editing Practice worksheet and have students work in pairs or small groups to read the story and come up with compliments, suggestions and corrections.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute the Editing Checklist worksheet and go over it with the class.
  • Give these instructions for the worksheet: 1) Edit your own written work using the self-edit column to check off each editing item. 2) Fix any errors you notice. 3) Have your partner read your written piece and complete the peer-edit column. 4) Use your peer's feedback to correct your writing. It might be helpful to write these instructions on the board.
  • Distribute the Peer Editing worksheet.
  • Optional: Display the Compliment and Suggestion sentence frames and/or editing marks for student reference.
  • Pair up students and have them use the Editing Checklist and Peer Editing worksheets to self-edit, then edit their partner's writing using the three steps: compliment, suggest, correct.
  • Circulate and support students as they edit their own work, and ask questions to guide their thinking and edits.
  • Give students time to review their partner's edits and discuss with their partner.


  • Have a small, heterogeneous group of students correct one piece of writing together so that students who need support can observe and participate in the process with a group.
  • Provide an example of an edited piece of writing and have students make corrections based on the edits.


  • Challenge students to add more interesting adjectives and adverbs into their own writing before or after the editing process.
  • Give students the opportunity to be editing coaches and allow them to lead a small group in editing a piece of writing.
(5 minutes)
  • Use observations from guided and independent practice to identify students who will need additional support.
  • Collect and check finished Editing Practice worksheets to check for understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • Display a sentence or poem (with mistakes) and call on students to give compliments, suggestions, and corrections.
  • As an additional optional assessment or exit ticket, have students edit the displayed sentence or poem by writing 2-3 suggestions or corrections on a sticky note, which they can turn in for your review.

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