I promise this mess means something!
How do you select peer editors for your friends? I always have some that are ready for a peer editor and some that are still writing. It got to be confusing to see who was ready for peer editing and who wasn't. Then, I came up with this idea.
When we are ready for editing, my friends get a checklist to use for self-editing. It's pretty thorough and my friends are able to catch and fix a lot. However, I always like them to have a peer editor. A fresh set of eyes will always find something new, and it gives my friends an opportunity to see how their peers are writing.
When I see that my friends are beginning to be ready for a peer editor, I make the chart above. I write "I need a peer editor!" at the top and number one to about 15. When a friend is ready for a peer editor, they go up and write their name down. If they get to the chart and see a name on it, they write their name next to it and then cross out both names with a single line. They then, meet with their peer editor and exchange papers.
Here's why this works for me:
-It's a random pairing. In the past, I would try to make sure they had a different peer editor each time. This chart sort of takes care of that. They rarely get the same person twice.
-When they just put a single line through both names, I am able to see at a glance who is working together. Of course, for the blog I have scribbled out the names.
-They know the routine. My friends always have what we call a "Go To" book and activity in their desk. If they put their name on the chart, but a peer isn't yet available they go to their "Go To" book and read or work on their "Go To" activity while they are waiting. There is always something to do!
I have also simplified my peer editing process tremendously. In the past, I would copy different peer editing checklists for my friend to use. It got to be far too complex and time consuming. Now, we don't use a chart at all. They simply take a blank piece of paper. The rule is two compliments and two critiques.
We work it this way. They meet with their peer editor and exchange papers. They then find a spot away from the author to read the paper. They can't ask the author any questions while they peer edit. I point out that they are not able to ask the author of the books they read any questions as they read. The piece has to be able to stand on its own. This is where the compliments and critiques come in.
They have to give two SPECIFIC compliments about the paper. They also have to give two SPECIFIC critiques. They write out these compliments and critiques on the blank paper. Now, I will say this works best when you do a mini-lesson or two modeling how it is done well. When they first start peer editing, they are very general. The compliments and critiques are not really helpful to the author. You really need to model how to make specific comments that will guide the author in some way.
Once they are done, they meet up with the other author and they conference together to discuss what they each wrote. Then, it is up to the author to decide if he/she want to make any changes based on what their peer editor said. I tell them that they are the owner of their writing. They may choose to make changes or it's possible they don't agree with what the peer editor noted. In that case, they simply say thank you for reading my paper and don't make the changes. I feel it is important for them to have ownership of their paper.
The best part of this is that it all happens without me! From the time they write their name on the chart to the time they finish meeting with their peer editor, I am out of the equation. This allows me to focus on the kids who are still in the earlier stages of the writing process and need conferencing with me. It really works well for us all. My friends are headed to middle school the next year, so this also helps build the independence they will need.
How do you conduct peer editing with your friends?