Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Practice Makes it Better

Cheryl Weaver
Bay District Schools


Students produce a final document that becomes published on the World Wide Web.


The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.


-Black ink pen (fine point)
-Questions for selection (See Attachment)
-Checklist for editing (see Weblinks)
-Proofreading symbols (see Weblinks)
-Conferencing form (see Attachment)

Optional Materials:
-Word processor
-Fancy stationary (appropriate to topic)
-Book binding machine
-Art supplies
-3x5 index cards
-Handout with steps for using Site Maker (available on the site)


1 Gather materials
2.Create guidelines for giving and receiving feedback from peers
3. Knowledge of Site Maker (see weblinks-questions contact Beacon Learning Center).


Teachers, this lesson cannot be taught until after the second semester. By this time, students should have a collection of writings. This is the proofread, revised, edited, ready-to-be published lesson. You also need to establish some procedures for working in pairs.

· Gain attention by letting them know that they have been chosen to submit one of their pieces of writing to be published on the Internet (SiteMaker- see Weblinks).
· Present objectives to the students by telling them that they will be given the task of choosing which piece of writing, from their writing portfolio, will be submitted. The teacher will not tell them which piece to pick, however, she/he will be available to assist them in their selection. Let the students know that they will be given a criteria sheet to help guide them in the decision-making.

· Relate to present knowledge by seeing if any of the students have ever added pages to a class book. You may also see if any of the students have ever won awards or recognitions for their writing before.

· Engage students in learning:
1. Students will be given their writing portfolios and criteria sheets to begin the selection process.

2. Students make two piles with the papers from their portfolios. One pile will be for pieces that will not be considered for selection and another for pieces that may be considered for selection.

3. Allow students to work with a partner to help narrow their selections even more. You may want to provide the students with a list of questions that they could ask to assist in the final selection.

4. Once the students have decided which pieces will be submitted, provide them with a checklist of things that are required in the editing process. Review the checklist and have the students begin working of the final document. Circulate regularly to ensure that the students are working and understanding the assignment.

5. Give the students an opportunity to use the computer, and encourage them to use the spell check.

6. The final documents must be free of errors, erasures, neatly hand-written or typed.

· Provide for practice by giving the students an opportunity to proofread a partner’s selected piece of writing and editing their paper. Make sure the students are familiar with the proofreading symbols and that they are all using the same symbols.

· Provide feedback to the students by conferencing with them after a partner has proofread their selected pieces.

7. Allow students to publish their pieces on the Internet. Make sure you have parental permission for this. One suggested site for student publishing is Sitemaker. (See the Weblinks section.)


Students self-assess using the checklist (see associated file), and the student and teacher assess using the student-teacher checklist (see associated file).


After the final documents have been submitted and scored have the students decorate the piece of work and create a booklet.

If the checklists are used for a summative assessment, the following scoring may be used:
Each question is worth 10 points. Partial points can be given for some assessment criteria. This is at the discretion of the teacher. Any student who receives less than 70 points may be given an opportunity to correct their final document for half credit. Note: A paper with a score of less than 70 points will not be added to the book to be presented with the elementary school.

As an added to make the lesson more fun, after the students have paired up for editing, give each student a bag with 15-20 M&Ms and a 3x5 index card. Tell the students not to eat any of the candy. The candy is to be used as an incentive for the least amount of errors found on the student’s paper before it is edited. Each time someone finds an error on someone else’s paper that person has to give him or her one of his or her M&Ms and vise-versa. At the end of the editing session have each student must write on the 3x5 index card how many M&Ms they have left, or how many they had to give up and why.

Depending on the time, you may also want to contact someone about entering some of the students’ writing at the “Young Writer’s Conference.

Web Links

Web supplement for Practice Makes it Better
Editing Checklist & Responding Form

Web supplement for Practice Makes it Better
Common Proofreading Symbols

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