Stop. COLLABORATE and Listen

Ice ain’t back with a brand new invention (thankfully)



This week I wanted to set up a collaborative approach to editing written work in the classroom. I have two emergent writers who I am helping support at the moment, one of whom is in Fifth Grade and the other in Third. I decided it would be beneficial to have the older student act as a mentor to the younger student, in order to build confidence and help him to see the progress he has made.







The goal of this lesson was to help students notice the differences between spoken and written English. I wanted to provide an opportunity for discussion in which students justify the changes they made to a text. Both students have been working on biographies over the past few weeks. Now that they had completed a draft, I wanted to help support them as they moved onto the next stage of the writing process.


Benefits and drawbacks to using technology

While both students have demonstrated that they are willing to work for longer periods of time, when typing their work, editing and redrafting can be frustrating for them, when using the computer. This is particularly true for my younger student, as he is working towards extending his writing stamina. Both students planned and drafted their work using Microsoft Word and were able to edit synchronously using two devices.

A great benefit to using technology was that students could see edits that were being made in front of them. I asked the students to highlight parts of the text I wanted them to edit before making changes so that they could go through our chosen thinking routine. I had to help support my Third Grade student in locating the different tools in Microsoft Word as he is still familiarizing himself with how everything works.

Throughout this activity, both students were in the classroom discussing changes made face to face. If we were forced to return to distance learning, however, I would feel confident that the students would be able to follow the same protocol online using either Zoom or Teams to communicate.

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Making thinking visible

In order to help support the students’ rationale for their changes, we made use of the What makes you say that? visible thinking routine. I felt this worked well as it required both students to work on editing the document whilst simultaneously ensuring that they were giving justification for the changes they made. One of the reasons I felt that this protocol was so useful was that once my Third Grade student started to hear the reasons for edits to his work, he began to make them himself and provided good reasons for making the changes.

One Reply to “Stop. COLLABORATE and Listen”

  1. I had to comment on this b/c of the Vanilla Ice reference!
    I always find it interesting to read what teachers in other subjects are doing – especially English teachers, because the overlap in the writing process is so recognizable (I teach HS social studies). I’m glad to see ES teachers using What Makes You Say That, and I hope it’s encouraging to find that it’s still in use in my 9th and 10th grade classes. I find it pretty effective. Just another gem from Project Zero! Enjoyed the humor in your post Simon!

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