We encourage teachers to spend time establishing independent routines so that students write independently and know what to do when they finish writing. We discourage queues, as this creates stress for teachers and wastes learning time.
It is important to spend time teaching students how to self-check their writing. Here are some great ideas for introducing and supporting students with self-checking their work:
In 2015, Rebecca Heynen created a large editing pencil, which she used to gradually introduce the editing check-list we have included in our Editing pencils. Once students are familiar with the check-list, you can introduce them to the smaller pencils. To download the Editing pencils, refer to The Writing Book (CD4-7).
We recommend setting an achievable goal for proofreading, for example, 'Can you spot three mistakes?' Take 10 minutes at the end of the lesson to model proofreading using a student's writing (with permission) as an example. Students can then 'self-check' their writing using a different-colour pen or pencil so that they can easily see the corrections. Use the 'self-check' sign on our website to record the 'self-check' focus for the lesson.
A fluency phone, also referred to as a whisper phone or phonics phone, is a self-amplifying device. Cath Widdifield at the International School in Hong Kong uses fluency phones to support her students to self-check their work. The fluency phones allow her students to listen to themselves while self-checking their writing. The students read their writing in a quiet voice, while the phones amplify the voices, helping them to focus and check their writing. A big thank you to Cath for sharing her great idea and sending us a photo of one of her students using a fluency phone to self-check his writing.
In 2015, a mum at Frenchville School in Rockhampton made a super-writer cape for the Year 1 and 2 classes. The student who shares their writing in the lesson wrap-up can get to wear the cape. What a fantastic way to encourage young writers to share and self-review their work. Thanks for sharing, Leisa and the team at Frenchville.
Students can use our 'Self-check' stamp when they have finished self-checking. They could either sign their initials or write the number of mistakes they corrected. Click here to view some examples.
The Writing Book also includes an Editing fan (CD4), which students can use to self-check their work.
When your students are ready to start sharing their writing with a partner, we recommend that you take time to model and practise the ‘Partner-check’ process so that it is a positive and productive experience for both the author and the partner. Here are some ideas for introducing and supporting students with partner-checking:
Ask students to sit next to each other so they can both see the writing.
The person who reads first puts their book on top of their partner's book. The author reads to their partner (they could just read a section of the writing if it is a longer piece). Repeat this process so that both students share their writing. The new partner swaps their book to the top.
To start with, the partner can just tell the author what they like and why. There is a partner-check card on our website. For more ideas about the ‘Partner-check’, refer to The Writing Book (pages 191 and 200).
Students can use the Two stars and a wish written feedback form in The Writing Book (page 243). We suggest using the template with students in Year 3 and above. However, in 2014, we received an email from Leanne Watson, who had trialled the template with her Year 1 class. Leanne provided us with an example and the following explanation:
'I wasn't too prescriptive - they are used to sharing their stories with a buddy, and reviewing their own writing for correct sentences and some punctuation, so I just asked them to look for two things they had done well, and one thing they thought their buddy might need to continue working on. They had their learning goals to refer to, and the specific learning goal for the task was to include who, what, when and where (they were writing about what they did in the holidays). I was pretty impressed with what they came up with for their first attempt.'
The example reads:
I love your ellipsis
I love the a's (we had been learning to form correctly a's in handwriting)
I wish that you could get good at full stops.
Alternatively, students can use our 'Partner-check' stamp to record their feedback. Click here to view some examples.