During the first semester of this school year, I helped Lauren Gourley with a lesson where she asked students to visit peer editing stations during the writing process. I loved this activity as it helped students isolate skills and allow for better focus. I also loved the fact that motion was incorporated to help get their brains more active during the process. Below are Lauren’s responses to my Q&A following the event.
You recently implemented peer editing stations for your students during a lesson. Can you please explain your philosophy behind the stations?
I decided to choose to do the peer editing stations after much reflection about Peer Editing. Prior to stations, I had students fill out a checklist of items to look for in their peer’s paper while making comments on the paper as a whole. There were several components that students needed to examine in one sitting (Grammar, Formatting, Cohesion, Citations, etc.), so I started to think about ways that elements of editing could be “chunked” into segments. By implementing stations, I was able to have students focus on a particular criterion while giving them movement around the room between focus areas.
Can you please describe how you set up each station?
I set up the stations by considering the focus areas in which I wanted my students to grow. These stations were Content & Analysis, Command of Evidence, Organization & Style, Control of Conventions, and Citations. I labeled baskets with all necessary materials for students to engage with the essay that they were editing (colored pencils, dictionary, thesaurus, grammar book, highlighters, etc.). I wanted students to actively read their peer’s essay by writing on it, color coding and providing symbols as directed at each station. At the Citations Station, Mrs. Hornberger (our librarian) helped students to make sure that their parenthetical citations and Work Cited were correct. Students had a small group environment to asses their use of citations with Mrs. Hornberger. After students finished at each station, they were given a rubric to grade their peer’s paper to evaluate how the student would do if they turned the essay in at that point.
What did students most enjoy or find helpful regarding the stations?
Students found that having a peer mark their paper using color coding, writing, or symbols helped them to better understand what components were missing and/or what areas could be expanded. They also found it helpful to have a small group meeting with Mrs. Hornberger. Students felt that in the smaller atmosphere, they were able to have more attention on their individual paper. Moreover, students found that in all stations, they were able to have more attention placed on a single element rather than the document as a whole.
What are you most likely to modify for a future activity like this?
In planning the stations, I had asked students to print their essay, so their peer could write on it. However, in doing this, I noticed that a few students did not make any of the changes when they turned in their electronic final draft. In reflection, if the student’s essay was shared through Google Docs to make comments and color code, the student would need to acknowledge those marks before submitting through Canvas, our Learning Management System.
Lauren Gourley teaches 9th and 10th grade English. These courses contain a strong concentration in the writing process, as she is aware of the importance of writing in every career. She encourages students to consider every element of their own writing throughout the writing process to take ownership and assess their strengths and weaknesses.