When I first started teaching, one of the greatest hurdles to overcome in language instruction was getting my first grade students to edit their writing. That piece of the writing process made no sense to them, regardless of how many fancy checklists I could find, stickers I gave out, ways we split up the time or time of day we did it. They simply wanted nothing to do it. It took me the longest time to realize that they simply did not see the point.
The wisdom came, of course, from another teacher, who simply asked me if I told them how hard it was to read their writing without spaces and punctuation, and if I had given them the responsibility of handing out nameless papers. It was so simple! The only thing I had them doing was reading their writing to me (because, of course, I couldn’t read half of it myself), resulting in a line of up halfway across the classroom. AND the early-finishers were into everything. It was mayhem.
I went up to the chalkboard that very day and wrote the equivalent of what they were handing in. My highest readers could not figure out what the string of letters in a row said, until I separated them with spaces and periods. And then, the little light bulbs popped on.
I left morning messages like that for over a week, and we corrected them together. They GOT the spacing and punctuation issue. And when I made them a picture-based editing checklist, they were thrilled.
I didn’t have cute clip-art in the nineties, but used coloring book people and surrounded them with thought-bubbles. Thankfully, my more recent students benefit from these cute Melonheadz kids in this freebie. And an added bonus? The early finishers have something to color! Phew!
What has been a light bulb moment in your teaching?
The freebie, and a related product!
Best wishes everyone!