Peer Editing Lesson Plan

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

This lesson plan teaches students to edit a peer's essay evaluating author intent, content, and mechanics. The plan uses whole class and small group work.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • learn how to determine the author's intent when editing an essay.
  • understand editing for content and mechanics.


  • 60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.


  • Access to video lesson Peer Editing: How to Edit Essays By Other Writers and accompanying worksheet or quiz
  • A brief essay that you can edit as an example for the class, and the ability to project the essay (smartboard, overhead projector, etc.)
  • Copies of an essay for students to edit
  • Rough drafts of recent student essays
  • Editing symbols memory game (set of cards where the matches are between an editing symbol, like a carat, and its meaning)
  • Bookmark-sized cardstock
  • Drawing materials
  • A colleague to help with the last activity

Instruction and Activities

  • Note: You might want to time this lesson so that students have recently finished a rough draft of an essay that can be used at the end of the lesson.
  • Ask students: What does a good editor look for? Record answers on the board for use later in the lesson.
  • Show students the video lesson Peer Editing: How to Edit Essays By Other Writers.
  • Have students work through the accompanying worksheet individually or with a partner to check for understanding.
  • Revisit your list of what a good editor looks for. See if students can categorize the items on the list in the same way the video categorized editing: author's intent, content, and mechanics.

Group Essay Review

  • Use a brief sample essay that you can project for the whole class to view (via smartboard, projector, etc.). The sample essay should be a rough draft that will lend itself to editing.
  • Have students volunteer to read the essay aloud.

Author's Intent

  • Together, identify the author's intended audience. Determine: Was the audience clear and easy to identify? Did the essay seem to address the same audience throughout the whole essay?
  • Review the definition of thesis and have students find the thesis of the essay. Ask: Was the thesis clearly stated? If not, what ambiguity could the author clear up?
  • List the main points of the essay.
  • Discuss the mood of the essay. Is it consistent throughout the whole essay?

Edit for Content

  • Model for the students how to check the essay for flow and logic.
  • Model possible methods for students to give feedback to a peer regarding an essay's flow and logic.

Edit for Mechanics

  • Review the symbols used in editing. If your class has recently discussed this information, skip to the next point.
  • Prepare a memory/matching game that pairs editing symbols with their meanings (i.e. ''^'' matches ''insert'').
  • Play a memory game to review editing symbols. Alternatively, you could make multiple copies of the game and allow students to play in groups.
  • Go through the sample essay as a class and edit for mechanics.

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