Busy Beaver: Editing Practice

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Language Arts, Writing, Editing

Grade 1- 3


Given a writing sample, the student will practice editing for conventions, focusing on one element at a time.


Reproduce one copy of page 74 onto an overhead and reproduce one paper copy for each student. Reproduce page 73 onto an overhead.
Lesson Opening
Draw the students' attention to the beaver display created in the previous lesson. Ask if a beaver uses all of his tools at once, or one at a time. Explain to the students that they will practice using the conventions one at a time by editing "Busy Beaver's Homework."
Lesson Directions

  1. Review the conventions poster.
  2. Teach the proofreader's marks (page 73). Display the overhead and write in the appropriate symbol as you discuss each one. Explain that these will be the students' editing tools.
  3. Display additional sample paragraphs(s) (Editing Practice, page 69) on the overhead one at a time. Model and discuss how to edit using the proofreading marks.
  4. Distribute page 74 and display the overhead. Ask students to use a colored pencil to edit the sample. Have them circle misspelled words and write the correct version above it. Discuss the difference between spelling errors and grammatical errors (for example, a word that is spelled correctly but used incorrectly in a sentence would be considered a grammatical error).
  5. Next, have students edit for punctuation, using a different color pencil than the one used in step 4. Remind them to use the "Common Proofreading Marks" format.
  6. Continue with grammar, capitalization, and marking paragraphs. Conclude by creating a title.
Lesson Closing
Ask the class how it felt to practice using the tools one at a time. To review the tools, point to the beaver parts one at a time and ask students to name a convention to look for in editing.


  • beaver pattern on classroom display
  • Common Proofreading Marks (page 73; see link below)
  • Busy Beaver's Homework (page 74; see link below), one copy per student
  • copies of Editing Practice (page 69; see link below)
  • colored pencils

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