Stop editing your students' writing and teach them to do it for themselves

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Nicole at Apple Tree Resources
Stop editing your students' writing and teach them to do it for themselves

If you're tired of editing your students' writing, you're in luck. In this episode, I help you put down the red pen by teaching your students to do their own editing. It may sound too good to be true but I promise it's not. And with the tips in this episode, you'll be teaching your class a valuable skill that they'll carry with them in later grades. Tune in to learn more!


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Hey there, fellow educators, and welcome back to another episode of Let's Chat Teaching with Nicole Sanders! Today, we're delving into a topic that might bring a sigh of relief to many of you: how to empower our students to edit their own writing. Let's face it, editing a pile of student drafts can feel like climbing Mount Everest, and I'm not ashamed to admit it's a task I'd rather avoid. So, let's explore how we can foster independence in our students while avoiding the burden of endless editing.

You know that moment when your students hand you a rough draft, eagerly expecting you to transform it into a literary masterpiece? Well, we're here to change that narrative. As a former classroom teacher turned online course creator, I understand the struggle. Editing is time-consuming, and it often means we're doing the heavy lifting while our students kick back and relax. Not anymore!

Now, before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let's acknowledge the elephant in the room: the temptation for students to turn to the dark side, a.k.a. AI, to do their writing. We'll get back to that in a bit, but for now, let's focus on setting the stage for effective self-editing.

First off, double spacing. Yes, that seemingly mundane task holds the key to successful editing. Think of it as creating space for improvement, quite literally. When students double-space, they're making room for revisions, corrections, and all the little tweaks that transform a draft into a polished gem.

But hold on, we're not stopping there. We're diving into the colorful world of editing, quite literally. Each student, along with any peer editors, should have their own designated color. It's not just about aesthetics; it's about clarity. When a rainbow of colors graces a paper, it becomes a visual record of the collaborative editing process. And trust me, a messy paper is a beautiful paper in the world of editing!

But what about the editing itself? Well, here's where the power of reading out loud comes in. Whisper reading, to be exact. Our brains are fantastic at auto-correcting when we read silently, and that's precisely what we don't want. Whisper reading prevents auto-correction and helps catch those pesky mistakes.

Now, let's talk about focus during editing. Encourage students to choose a specific aspect to look for during their second read-through. It could be anything from checking for capitalization and punctuation to verifying spelling. Having a focus helps make the editing process less overwhelming and more targeted.

But, and here's a big but, the goal isn't perfection; it's progress. Our students are on a journey of becoming better writers, and self-editing is a crucial part of that journey. It's about deepening their understanding, building skills, and creating better writers in the long run.

Now, onto the crucial question: How do we prevent students from outsourcing their writing to AI? Well, the answer lies in the power of the pen. That's right—handwriting. In an era dominated by keyboards and screens, the act of putting pen to paper has become somewhat of a lost art. But fear not, because we're bringing it back. By having students handwrite their drafts in class, we're throwing a curveball at the AI game. It's not as easy to manipulate a handwritten piece, making the process of outsourcing to AI a cumbersome task.

And what about proofreading, you ask? Well, that's the final frontier. A well-inked paper, brimming with corrections and revisions, serves as a testament to the writer's journey. It's a tangible record of growth and effort, not just a polished end result. We're not chasing perfection; we're celebrating progress.

As we wrap up this episode, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for choosing to spend your precious time with me. Teaching is a journey, and each step we take with our students shapes their learning experience.

Until next time, happy teaching, and let's continue this adventure together!





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