I wonder how many of you teachers out there have students who can’t wait to finish typing their stories so that they can get on with the editing. Hmmmm!!! Strange??? I don’t think I see any hands up.
“Yeah right!” I hear you mutter. “Since when have kids ever enjoyed editing!!!*^@#”
Well now they can!
The real issue with editing for kids
You see, kids hate editing because the only thing they can see for their efforts is a big mess on their previously “OK” page—well almost OK. Not only that, the next step in the painful process is to rewrite it—fine reward for all that hard work. Even if they are using a computer and have no mess to clean up or rewrite, no-one can see how much effort they put into the task. So, why bother!
Well now, all that can change, and you will be able to get kids to edit their work without that thunderous look you know they’re pulling behind your back. In fact, they will be quite happy about it, as they really quite enjoy balloons—even teenagers.
The power of the reviewing toolbar and tracking changes
What I’m talking about here is the use of the reviewing toolbar and “track changes”. This is a simple tool contained in any worthwhile word processing or desktop publishing software, and even in Powerpoint and Keynote multimedia programmes.
Once the writing phase has been completed, students access the “Reviewing Toolbar” and click on “track changes”. Now any alterations they make will show up in coloured font. You can also turn “balloons on” and have bubbles bounce out the side explaining the change,
or “balloons off” and have strike out lines appear through deleted, substituted or shifted text.
Now your students can really focus on improving the quality of their writing, and you can set them criteria that you expect to see before the editing phase is complete e.g. check spelling, insert interesting vocabulary such as adjectives, adverbs (and later metaphor and simile), substitute boring vocab such as ran, said, went, and for something more interesting, check sequence and drag and drop to new location if needed, check sentence length etc. Your students will be able to measure their progress by the extension of the criteria you give individuals as they become better writers.
Where do you find these magical tools?
So where do you find these magic toolbars:
For “Word” users you will find a review toolbar – check out the View menu -> Toolbars -> Reviewing
and this menu will appear
For Mac Pages users your pathway is Edit -> Track Changes.
Try it out for yourself, and then show it to your students. People I have shown this have devoured it hungrily and reported later that it does work with their students. Not only that, you have material to display in parent conferences, ERO reviews and for primary – national standards reporting. Be sure to save a copy after tracking the changes, and before you “highlight all and accept the changes”. It’s as easy as that to move to your final copy – just highlight all and “accept the changes” and all the tracking disappears. You can now illustrate and prepare for printing or displaying on the web.
Have fun now!
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