Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Interactive Edits: Looking at Grammar and Mechanics the Right Way!

Hello again friends!

This is Jen from Out of This World Literacy.  It feels like forever since I've blogged here and I am excited to share my latest thinking about interactive edits.  In the past, I have used D.O.L. (Daily Oral Language) worksheets in my classroom in the hopes that my students would correct all the mistakes in poorly written sentences.  I hoped, that by knowing how to correct numerous errors in poorly written sentences, they would be able to write correctly themselves. 

My thinking completely shifted when I learned about Jeff Anderson and his idea of showing students well written sentences, rather than putting poorly written sentences in front of them.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Mr. Anderson speak, TAKE IT!  He is phenomenal...and highly entertaining I might add. 

Check out this amazing 3 minute video of Jeff Anderson as he explains how to invite students to notice great writing. 

     Asking students to notice what works well in a sentence, rather than to identify errors, helps students learn good grammar and mechanics.  When we practice finding mistakes, we only focus on mistakes.  When we practice finding what is good, we are focusing on what works well in sentences.  Since we want our students to write sentences full of strong grammar, mechanics, word choice, figurative language, etc., we will look at good quality sentences that model these traits.   

     After all, we don’t teach math by showing students how to find the wrong answers, or all the ways they could solve problems incorrectly.  We teach math by showing students many different ways to find the right answer.  Likewise, we rarely chose a poorly written book as a read-aloud.  And we certainly would not pick a lousy piece of work and use it for mentor text in writing.  We choose well-written work that models good writing.  Let’s do the same through interactive edit by choosing well-written sentences that give students the opportunity to notice what makes a great sentence!
    I have been inspired by Mr. Anderson to create resources that will help teachers implement interactive edits in their classrooms.  I currently have one resource available, but am working on monthly themed sentences that students can explore during different parts of the literacy block.  You will soon see these resources posting on my TpT page.
    Thank you all so much for reading!  I hope you are able to learn as much from Mr. Anderson as I have!!
Best Wishes!



  1. Wow. I enjoy this greatly. It makes so much sense. Thanks for posting!

  2. You are so welcome! It was such a shift for me when I first learned as well. I totally agree it makes so much for sense. Good luck!

  3. Thanks for the tip, Jen! I was JUST about to go make some DOL style sheets using the kids' mistakes and you've made me rethink this. I was actually going to do both: put a correct and incorrect sentence side by side, but I was going to have them fix the wrong sentence. Now I think I'll have them highlight the parts of the correct sentence instead! Love the idea of focusing on the positive. :D

    1. Thanks Amber. I'm so glad I could share with you! I hope you students are able to find lots of amazing things about the sentences. Good luck!


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