The "Writer's Workshop" instructional videos were fascinating with the perfectly well-behaved students who raised their hands like well trained soldiers, the well-dressed teacher with the hair that didn't move and the writing stations that were organized perfectly. They were one step short of an Oscar Winning Documentary production. In all actuality the videos were kind of depressing, but regardless, they were a great example of the foundation of the writing process and something to strive for.
Whereas, with severe modifications; my writing classes somewhat resembled a traditional writer's workshops, they were my "Writer's Workshop" adapted to meet the needs of the students in my classroom using strategies that best worked for my students. Whereas, I spent most of my teaching years in Title One schools, I had a large population of reluctant writers and therefore, I needed to do use strategies that "worked" as the stakes were even higher. But the rewards of modifying for my students were worth it. My students, I might add, were always on their writing game.
The "editing" aspect presented with the traditional Writing Process always threw me for a loop. I had students who could read their own same paper three times and not recognize their own grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization errors three times. Then I was supposed to have that same student "peer" edit another student's paper. "Houston, we have a problem!" Not only, was it unreasonable to expect all students to be able to edit each other's work who lacked the skill set to do so, but most of my student's compositions were difficult to read. Some students simply don't possess great handwriting skills, many nights I felt like a detective more than a teacher solving clues to solve their penmanship. Of course I had the students who could "edit" student work perfectly well, but being a "differentiation" advocate that I am, I certainly believed I owed that student better instructional time than correcting and revising other's work all day.
Editing is a skill that requires many prerequisite skills, and hitting all of those grammar, spelling, punctuation and other language proficient skills hard is mandatory. Through consistent modeling, writing immersion and feedback some students will become solid writers with great editing skills. Others as we know, will need much more individualized work.
We always started our workshops out with a game that we called "Find 10". I created paragraphs or short passages and purposely created ten editing errors that needed to be found in each passage. The students love it, and were quite competitive I might add. During the first part of the year the I placed the passages on the computer screen with the document camera and the class found the editing errors together. As we approached "crunch time" the students glued the passages to their writers notebook and completed them individually. However, making the passages everyday was a tremendous amount of work and hopefully I've saved you some time. I have compiled seventy-five short passages and paragraphs into one resource called, "Find Ten, Editing Skills Practice" and you can purchase that resource HERE in my TPT store.
6. I've also created an "Editing Test-Prep" resource, with practice editing test and editing activities. You may purchase this resource HERE! This resource is aligned to the 4th Grade Texas STAAR TEKS, but would be great practice for any writing curriculum.