On Editing

Our 9th Graders are working on fractured fairy tales for their benchmark. Last night’s homework was to complete their rough drafts. Because these will be incorporated into children’s picture books, there’s a word limit of 500. It does an English teacher’s heart good to have students complaining they absolutely cannot write anything under 596 words.
In an effort to stem the onset of AEP (Adolescent Editing Phobia), I’m turning back to my roots – my college roots.
There were a few things I garnered from my formal college education, truly a few. One of them was comparative adverbial forms such as, “He slowed down more slowly than she did.” The other was from Professor Bob Broad – The Writer’s Memo.
I remember writing my first memo in Broad’s class. I remember thinking it was a complete waste of time. I remember getting my draft back with memo and comments and realizing I had just learned something about editing.
Today, my 9th graders will be turning in their rough drafts, writing their memos and trading papers. I’m hoping for goodness. I realize not every student is going to get as much out of the writers memo as I did. Still, I’m hoping it will be a start to a larger conversation over what it takes to truly get worthwhile peer review happening on a draft.
If not, I’ll move on to comparative adverbial phrases.
More later.

Image credit: http://flickr.com/photos/skylover/455669442/

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