Do you find that peer editing is helpful with your elementary writers? If so, please share some ideas and suggestions for what you do!! :)
First off, I'd say it depends on the grade how peer editing might look. In the primary grade band, I might have learning partners with a strong and weaker model share their writing on the carpet with two questions in mind: "Does it make sense?" and "Can more detail be added?" That's straight out of the Lucy Calkins' Units of Study. However, I wouldn't let this happen with pencils unless the partnerships are homogeneous writing partners. We want to teach the writer not the piece. The point isn't to make the piece perfect or better, but to teach strategies and skills to the writer.
I think something similar can happen in intermediate grades. It's important that students feel safe and aren't corrected too much by their peer or you. We only want to encourage them to fix the errors that are within their reach. Otherwise, lower students tend to build a lot of resistance against writing, which is very counterproductive, especially around spelling. I believe word work is the time to push students.
One way to improve writing that I believe isn't focused on enough in the Units of Study is providing students with time to orally rehearse stories and story-tell. This will go far to improve their stories. But it should happen before they write or before and during drafting. Reading stories to someone can also be a great way to think of more important details. The share time whole class or in partners allows a time to ask questions that give ideas for more interesting detail too. This must be modeled extensively in whole group before partners will be able to do so well, or if they have previous experience.
I am a brand new blogger (required for a tech class I am taking)--yet a very passionate teacher of writing. I teach fourth grade in a small NH town. I have used the writing process in my classrooms for years. I no longer include the peer editing step. I do, have a peer conference step. After several examples of modeling what a peer conference would look and sound like, students find a classmate to read their story to. It is the classmate's responsiblity to listen and write a positive statement about the piece/story and to ask a question about clarification or about something they would like to know, etc. This conference only addresses the content of the story--not the mechanics. The student writer then signs up for an adult conference where myself or a "trained by me" volunteer or teacher assistant meets with the child and writes comments about what the student did well and then comments on one , maybe two, areas in which the story may be improved. It may be focusing the piece, using more specific language/details, or just a more appropriate title. It is very individualized and depends on how well the child writes. The student is expected to take the peer and adult comments and "revise" his/her story. My students fix what "mistakes" they can find and then are allowed to use the computer to type and edit their stories. Once they have edited their story to the best of their ability, I work with the student to make a final edit. Here, I may teach or focus on one skill-- such as using quoatation marks, but I edit everything. Their best attempt is what I have to grade, but the final piece we edit together, is what gets "published" and shared with the class.
I used to have students have a peer editing session--however, it never got the bang for the buck I wanted. Kids soon knew who would fix all their mistakes and their was very little learning going on. What are you doing with peer editing? What have you read? I've used edit checklists, and modeled how I wanted the edit conference to go--but it just didn't seem to work for me. I'd love to hear what others have tried. Thanks, jan