Saturday, January 5

Editing Circles in Writing Workshop

I have found that my first grade writers do a more consistent, stronger job at editing when there are editing circles on each writing page. The editing circles act as a visual reminder to look over each page for each of the writing conventions.

My sweet firsties and I are pretty much maniacs about Writing Workshop and if you're looking for tips about Writing Workshop hop on over to this post filled with Writing Workshop Tips. Our district implements Writing Workshop with a Units of Study emphasis and we have 45-60 minutes of it every day. 

The main genres we have in first grade are:
Personal Narrative/Small Moments/Slice of Life
Friendly Letter
Reviews & Opinion Pieces
Realistic Fiction
Question - Answer Books 

We've used a variety of paper styles in the past and they've evolved into what I'll give you at the end of the if you want to skip the explanation, just scroll, scroll, scroll down...

My kiddos are currently creating narrative, poetry and informational books, as well as comic books. It's such a pleasure to read their is a guaranteed way to put a smile on my face!

If you'd like to read two of my kiddos books, click the pics to head over to Google Docs for them in pdf form. Feel free to share them with your class. They're filled with opportunities for teaching points!

The quality isn't perfect, but I've doctored it up in the pdf.

Each sample is a different Google Doc so click them both if you want them both.

Student A's piece is a narrative and is titled "Books". She has so many wonderful characteristics of a writer and illustrator in place as well as areas for growth...


Student B's piece is informational and is titled "Space". It ended up to be a 14 pager so I just included excerpts. It was his first attempt at an informational text and he was so proud. He also has so many amazing traits of a writer and illustrator present...and opportunities for growth...

My son's first grade teacher (who we also have the pleasure of having her again because she is a looping teacher) has the BEST ideas and is such a wonderful teacher. We are beyond blessed to have her!

The writing he'd done in his first grade class would come home and I noticed editing circles at the bottom of the writing paper...You might already know about and use them, but they were new to me.

The editing circles have made a nice difference with my firsties, as it raises consciousness and elevates the importance of editing.

My class constructs their books and do their own stapling. As a scaffold, I have added a tall skinny rectangle to the cover page so that they have a guide on where to put their staples. 

Sorry that none of the pictures have a border around them...I hope you can get the idea of where the edges are...
The dedication page has a lot of white space and many kids add their Table of Contents underneath the because part:
We do a lot of noticing how authors and illustrators place their words and pictures on their pages. They've been asking for different styles of paper...after we talked about it as a class here's what they wanted. They knew exactly what they wanted and I'm happy to give it to them (and you!)!

Picture space on top, lines on bottom:

Lines on top, picture space on bottom:

Page full of lines:

Pages with no lines or boxes whatsoever (for being able to do a two page spread where the lines or pics cross onto the other page or for interesting word placement on a single page spread):

3 picture boxes vertically placed with lines to the right (they love this in Kevin Henkes' books):

4 boxes with no lines (so they could do it comic book style OR add words in "cool" ways not just on lines):

9 boxes with no lines (comic book style):

And, to keep all those paper choices organized, I have one of those paper sorter mailbox thingies that was a hand-me-over. I hadn't decided what to do with it yet, so it's been just hanging I have a plan.

I will number the little compartments and nearby will post the page below. Each paper will be stored in the corresponding number compartment.

How do I use the editing circles in my world?

Well, the kids each have an editing marker (thin Crayola) and prior to stapling a book together, they are to edit it entirely with the goal of each circle containing a smiley face. If there's anything to fix for that particular part (making sense; upper/lower case; punctuation; spelling; details) then they need to fix it first (with their editing marker) and THEN they can fill in the circle with eyes and a smiley mouth.

Some kids like to write their entire book and then go back to do the editing all at once. Other kids like to write a page and then edit the page before beginning the next page. I'm cool with whatever long as they're doing it.

When the editing is done, they put their pages in order (the numbering is a huge help) and head over to the stapling table where I have one low-effort, jam-free stapler.

Thanks for sticking with me!

Here's the freebie of the writing pages!

You might also be interested in this Wintry Fun Syllable counting/sorting/spelling freebie...Click the first picture to download it.



  1. Thanks for sharing your writing pages. This is just what I need to encourage my writers. With the "new year" I am making some changes and this will be perfect!

  2. I love how you do the books. Writing is my favorite thing to teach :). I've been saving all of my kids final drafts so that at the end of the year we can make books to give to their parents :). I can't wait to get this packet :)

  3. Thanks for the writing pages! We start our informational unit this month and these will definitely come in handy!

    Christina :)
    Apples, Books, and Crayons

  4. I love the editing circles idea...I always have my students proofread on a separate list, but with it right on the page, they (hopefully!) will be a little more responsible!

  5. Thanks so much for the writing paper freebie! Writing is not my strong suit, and editing in first grade is always a struggle. Those editing circles will be very helpful reminders for my kiddos.
    Colleen :-)
    Fun and Fearless in First

  6. Came across your blog through Oh' Boy 4th Grade! Love your writing papers, the editing section on the bottom is perfect. My kiddos will love these, thanks for sharing!

    Elementary My Dear

  7. I LOVE these. I had never heard of the editing circles, but these are so clever!

    Chickadee Jubilee

  8. Busy little lady! These are fabulous-quick and easy. Love that they reflect on their writing as well!
    ~Christy & Tammy
    Fluttering Through First Grade

  9. Hi! The editing circles at the bottom of the pages are new to me, too. What a great idea! Thanks for the Freebie.

    First Grade Schoolhouse

  10. Teaching writing is definitely my weakness....sigh. Love the idea of the editing circles, never seen them before and love them. Thanks for sharing the idea!

    For the Love of First Grade

  11. I love Kim Geswein font. I paid to use her KG Ray of Sunshine on some of my TPT products. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the editing circles idea. I'm going to use it on any new writing activities I create for my class. Thanks for sharing! Michele

  12. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog AND for the technology tip! I am still new to all of this and learning as I go, so I will definitely be checking out the technology tips!! :) I am your newest follower!!! Thanks again,

  13. Hi!!! You have a new follower. :) I love that you have the editing circles at the bottom of your pages. Thanks so much for sharing!! I saw Matt Glover and Katie Wood Ray a few years back at a conference- amazing!

  14. I LOVE your writing pages. The editing circles are awesome. I think that my kiddos could really benefit from the added reminder of checking and reviewing their work. Great resource!

    ❀ Kate
    Purely Paperless

  15. Wow! Awesome post. You've given me a lot to think about! Thank you.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  16. SO many great ideas in one post! I love the editing circles idea- I, too, had always used a separate sheet, but this makes so much more sense! And the "editing marker" is pure genius- getting to use a cool marker unlike the others in their school box would be enough to inspire them to edit! Thanks so much for the freebie writing page!
    First Grade Bangs

  17. Thanks so much! These will be a great resource!!


© Growing Firsties. All rights reserved.
Design by Laugh Eat Learn // Theme by Pipdig