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Lesson Plan

Peer Edit With Perfection: Effective Strategies

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Peer Edit With Perfection: Effective Strategies

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Peer Editing as a Whole Class

Peer Editing in Small Groups

Individual Peer-Editing Practice


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Learn the definition of peer editing

  • Understand and apply a three-step peer-editing process

  • Peer edit sample student writing in a whole-group, small-group, and individual setting

  • Use their knowledge of peer editing to develop a peer-editing assessment tool

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Peer Editing as a Whole Class

1. Introduce the concept of peer editing to students and define the term (i.e., students work with someone their own age-usually someone in the same class-to help improve, revise, and edit a piece of student writing). Brainstorm the pros and cons of peer editing and record students' thoughts about the editing and revising process on chart paper.

2. Tell students that they will learn how to peer edit more effectively. Explain that they will look at some samples of student writing. The writing prompt was
Think about a time you tried something new. Maybe it was your first day of school, your first time on a bike or bus, the first time you tried a skill learned in class, or the first time you tried a new sport.

Write a story about when you did something for the first time. Give enough details to show the reader what happened.

3. Pass out (or use an overhead transparency) to show the sample student work-5 points. Read it aloud to students. Explain that there are three steps to peer editing:
  • Step 1: Compliments

  • Step 2: Suggestions

  • Step 3: Corrections
As you introduce each step, model a few compliments, suggestions, and corrections that you would make on the sample writing piece.

4. Start with compliments. Talk about why it is important to give compliments first and the importance of "staying positive." Ask students to brainstorm compliments that they could give for the 5-point writing sample. Some things to look for may include
  • Word choice

  • Organization

  • Sentence structure

  • Opening and closing sentences
Record students' compliments on the board or have them record them on paper.

5. After students have brainstormed compliments, have them move on to the second stepósuggestions. Ask students to think of suggestions they would make to the author. Students should remember that "put-downs" are not allowed. Remind students that they need to be specific when giving suggestions. For example, "The second sentence in the third paragraph is confusing to me. Maybe you could break it up into two separate sentences." Record students' suggestions on the board.

6. Lastly, have students make corrections on the sample by checking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Depending on the skills and routines in your classroom, you may want to have students use editing marks or simply circle or underline mistakes.

7. To end the session, pass out the Peer Editing with Perfection! handout and quickly review the three steps to peer editing: compliments, suggestions, and corrections.

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Peer Editing in Small Groups

1. Pass out copies of the sample student work-4 points, and divide the class into small groups of three to four students each.

2. Ask students to fold a blank sheet of paper into thirds and label the first column compliments, the second column suggestions, and the third column corrections.

Note: You may want to have students make corrections (the third step) directly on the writing sample, especially if they are using editing marks.

3. Have students work with their group to peer edit the writing sample. They should follow the three steps learned in the previous session: start with compliments, then suggestions, and finally corrections. Remind students to review their notes from the previous session if they get stuck on any step.

4. When students are finished, bring the class back together and have the groups share their compliments, suggestions, and corrections.

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Individual Peer-Editing Practice

1. Distribute copies of the Peer Edit with Perfection! worksheet and have students use the classroom or school computers to open and view the Peer Edit with Perfection! tutorial.

2. As students move through the PowerPoint tutorial, they should complete the worksheet.

3. Collect the worksheets when students are done with the tutorial.

4. Bring the class back together to review what they learned about peer editing.

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  • Have students practice their skills by peer editing a piece written by a classmate. Implement and instill the peer-editing technique by having students edit their classmates' written pieces on a regular basis.

  • Have students teach a fellow class to peer edit using the information they learned in this lesson.

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  • Review the Peer Edit with Perfection! worksheets completed during the PowerPoint tutorial. Assess using the answer key.

  • Work with the class to develop a peer-editing checklist for use with future peer editing. It should include all three steps to peer editing.
  • Start by asking students what they need to remember about the first stepócompliments. Guide the class to create one or two checklist items related to compliments. Some ideas might include, "I gave the author of this piece at least two compliments" or "I was specific about what I liked about this piece of writing." Record these student-generated checklist items on the board or on chart paper.

  • Move through the other two steps of peer editing (suggestions and corrections) and generate several other checklist items. Some ideas might include, "I gave the author detailed suggestions about how to improve this piece of writing" or "I marked all the spelling and grammar errors that I saw in this piece of writing."

  • Once students have generated six to seven checklist items, record and type them up. Have students use the checklist as an assessment tool for future peer-editing sessions.

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