For my third professional development book, I picked “Inviting Students to Develop Skill and Craft in Writer’s Workshop: Everyday Editing” by Jeff Anderson.
In the introduction Anderson talks about why students hate grammar and he makes a lot of good points about how we teach grammar is mostly from boring old tradition. He also talks about how much is sucks when you get a paper back all marked up with red (or green or any other color) of pen. It makes you not want to write anymore. This is how we make our students doubt their writing and we need to STOP. Editing is important, but we need to do more than what we are currently doing in order to teach students how to edit.
In chapter 1, Anderson talks about how our students attitude towards editing comes from them attacking sentences on the overhead, shouting out answers about commas and capitals. Do the kids actually get it or are they just guessing? Really if there is a comma there and you are asking about it, chances are it gets deleted. If something isn’t capitalized an you ask about it, chances are students are going to assume it need capitalized. Editing, just like writing, should be a process, not a checklist. Some advice that Anderson gives is to ask open ended questions like, “What do you notice? How does it sound when we read it?” This puts the students in charge of the editing.
In chapter 2, Anderson says we need to invite students into editing and gives advice on how to do that. Reading is an important part of learning the editing process. We are learning ho to edit without even realizing it. When we read frequently and are exposed to correct grammar and punctuation, we pick it up.
In Chapter 3 What Do Editing Invitations Look Like in the Classroom, Anderson finds powerful sentences to demonstrate the editing and how it can change a sentence. Anderson asks the students, “What do you notice about the sentence?” and goes from there with classroom conversation. This invites students to analyze sentences and start editing without even realizing it. After getting the students to notice, Anderson asks the students to imitate what they see. He asks students to write sentences similar to one that he gave them. For example, Anderson gave the students, “If this were a movie, I ‘d probably have to kill off my father in the first scene.” The students then brainstorm a list of similar sentences, “If this were a rap song, if my life were a country song, ect.” He then invited the students to celebrate what they have done because editing is so often no celebrated.
Part 2 of the book gives teachers 10 lesson sets to help them teach editing. The lessons are Serial Comma, Colons, Capitalization, Apostrophes, Simple Sentences, Verb Choice, Appositives, Paragraphs, Compound Sentences, and Dialogue.
I enjoyed this book because teaching editing is so often so hard and complicated. You don’t want to do what your teachers have done to you, but it is hard to come up with different ways to teach it so that you don’t fall into old habits of giving worksheet packets and marking up student papers. Finding ways to teach students how to edit without making it awful and boring is so important and this book was very helpful in doing that.