EDITING MADE EASY: Strategies For All Writers


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



Do students groan when you say it is time to edit and revise? Are you intimidated by grammar and writing conventions, perhaps never having been explicitly taught them in a way that made sense?  Is there never enough time for editing in your writers' workshop?  Does it seem that your editing lessons are not really connected to what students are writing? Do some students still struggle to write complete sentences, while others have mastered that but struggle with other conventions? How do you take all students to the next level?  
This class teaches you to focus and build on what your students are doing right. Instead of targeting student errors, learn how to build on their writing strengths. Use literature and well-written sentences to show students how their sentences can be crafted. Find ways to make editing a daily part of your writing time. It IS possible to have fun while teaching editing, grammar and conventions to all of your students! Each chapter provides you with ideas you can use immediately. Appropriate for teachers of grades 3-12.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1. Learned what is effective in teaching students grammar and editing.
2. Learned how to increase students' confidence in editing and enjoy this process.
3. Understood how to use mentor texts and model sentences to model good writing techniques.
4. Used the editing process to inspire positive changes in student writing.
5. Empowered students to be active participants in the writing process.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Everyday Editing by Jeff Anderson. ISBN: 1571107096

  • Everyday Editing: Inviting Students to Develop Skill and Craft in Writer's Workshop
    ISBN# 9781571107091
    by Anderson, Jeff
    Stenhouse Publishers

    Buy from Amazon


The text is available from for $15.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators active in the course. Feel free to read and respond to others comments. 

Assignment #1: Introduction.

Introduce yourself with a background profile in 1-2 pages.
What led you to choose teaching as a profession?  Describe your current professional situation.
What brings you the most joy in your work with teaching writing?
What led you to choose this class and what outcomes do you hope to have through this class?


Assignment #2: A Look at the Traditional Approach.

Read the Introduction: "Why Do My Students Hate Grammar and Editing?" and respond in 1-2 pages.
How were you taught grammar?
Compare and contrast how you were taught grammar to how you teach editing and grammar.
As a student yourself, have you ever gotten a paper back that was covered with editing or grammar corrections? How did that make you feel? Did it make you want to write more?
What do you think the traditional approach to editing and grammar teaches children?

Assignment #3: Read Chapters 1 & 2.

Read and respond to Chapters 1 & 2 in a 1-page paper or a mind map by answering the following:
What are the four(4) basic tenets of effective instruction and how can you use them in teaching editing? (p. 17-18)
Why should we teach grammar by just zooming in on one sentence instead of longer pieces of writing? Do you agree? Why or why not?
Find five interesting sentences that you would like to share with your students. Why would you like to share these sentences? Why are they powerful?

Assignment #4: Read Chapter 3.

Read Chapter 3 and respond to the questions in a 1-2 page paper.
Which of the editing steps listed were the most interesting to you and why?
Which of these steps do you already use in your classroom?
Which steps would you like to use?
How do you plan on using one (or more) of these steps in your classroom in the future?

Assignment #5: Read Part II, Chapters 1-3.

Read Part II, Chapters 1-3, and respond to questions in a 1-2 page paper or create a lesson plan applying these skills.  
You can write a lesson plan using one of these grammar forms, OR answer the following questions. Use whatever lesson format you use for your school district in the lesson plan.
Find and share one sentence that you could use to introduce serial commas, colons, or capitalization. Why do you like this sentence?
Write your own imitation of that sentence and make a sentence frame that you could use with students to imitate the sentence. (example p. 51)
Create a writing prompt that you could use with students to help them write using serial commas, colons, or capitalization.
Create an invitation to edit activity (p. 58) use a sentence for serial commas, colons, or capitalization.

Assignment #6: Read Part II, Chapters 4-6.

Read Part II, Chapters 4-6, and respond to questions in a 1-2 page paper or by creating a lesson plan applying these skills.  Write a lesson plan using one of these grammar forms, or answer the following questions. Use whatever lesson format you use for your school district in the lesson plan.
Which of these three chapters talks about a grammatical form that causes problems for your students? Why do you think your students struggle with these forms?
Create a poem using the format described in section 5.5 (p. 91-92) that uses two word sentences.
Did you have an "aha" moment reading these chapters? What do you think is going to be most helpful for you in your classroom?

Assignment #7: Read Part II, Chapters 7-10.

Read Part II, Chapters 7-10. Respond to questions in 1-2 pages or create a lesson plan applying these:
Write a lesson plan using one of these grammar forms, using whatever lesson format you use in your district, or answer the following questions. 1) Look at the activity on page 110 about creating "An Appositive Experience" flip book. Create a little flip book yourself following these directions that you could share with your students. What sentences did you create? What did you like about this activity? How did this activity make you feel about appositives?
2) Find five sentences with "FANBOYS" (p.130) that you could share with your class. Why do you think these would be good model sentences?
3) Create an "Invitation to Edit" (p. 148) that you could use with your students for teaching dialogue.




In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators active in the course. Feel free to read and respond to others comments. 


Assignment #8: Editing Strategies.

Choose one (1) of the following assignments: 
Reflect on the results of using a grammar or an editing strategy from this book.  In a 2-3 page paper, describe the strategy you employed and then analyze the outcomes with specifics.  OR  Consider what reservations you think a teacher or administrator might have on having teachers use this style of teaching editing in the classroom. Why teach writing and editing in an integrated fashion as opposed to teaching traditional grammar? Write a 2-3 page commentary. 


Assignment #9: Lesson Development.

Assignment #9:   (Required for 400 & 500 Level)
Assignment #9-A:

  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by adding your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Submit your modified lesson to your instructor via the online response box or file upload.


Assignment #9-B:

  • Adapt a lesson or reflect on a lesson  idea you can create reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)  If you aren't in the classroom or it's summer, etc, create a lesson plan you'd like to use at some future time.
  • Share your learning with other teachers by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Write a 500+ word article about a noteworthy teaching success you’ve had with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Yvonne Hall THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the response box or file upload.

Assignment #10: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:  
Option A)   Create a power point presentation explaining how to integrate these editing skills with the writing program you currently use in your classroom. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your current method of teaching editing.
Option B)   Find and read 3-5 Internet articles on grammar or editing. Summarize them in 2-3 pages and explain how you could apply these ideas into your current method of teaching editing.
Option C)   Another idea of your own, with prior approval from the instructor.


Assignment #11: (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 350-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.


EDITING MADE EASY: Strategies For All Writers

Allington. R., What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-Based Programs. New York: Addison-Wesley Longman, 2001.
,This book includes research on the best-practices for building fluency, comprehension skills and interventions that work for struggling readers and writers. It is easy to understand and practical. We know that good readers tend to be good writers, and so this book helps your students have the skills to become strong readers.
Anderson, Jeff. Everyday Editing. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2007.
Instead of rehearsing errors and drilling students on what's wrong with a sentence, this book invites students to look carefully at their writing along with mentor texts and to think about how punctuation, grammar, and style can be best used to hone and communicate meaning.
Anderson, Jeff. Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2005.
Mechanically Inclined is the culmination of years of experimentation that merges the best of writer's workshop elements with relevant theory about how and why skills should be taught. It connects theory about using grammar in context with practical instructional strategies, explains why kids often don't understand or apply grammar and mechanics correctly, focuses on attending to the “high payoff,” or most common errors in student writing, and shows how to carefully construct a workshop environment that can best support grammar and mechanics concepts.
Boushey, G., Moser, J. The Cafe Book. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2009.
This book shows teachers how to use effective strategies to increase Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency
and Expand vocabulary (CAFE) in the classroom. These strategies help with both reading and writing instruction.
Boushey, G., Moser, J. The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2006.
Designed to help teachers spend less time managing and more time teaching, this book demonstrates how to have students become independent learners during literacy time. Teachers have students read to themselves, read to a partner, listen to reading, write and work on word skills while the teacher conferences and works with small groups.
Buckner, Aimee. Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2005.
A writer's notebook is an essential springboard for the pieces that will later be crafted in writers' workshop. It is in this notebook that students brainstorm topics, play with leads and endings, tweak a new revision strategy, or test out a genre for the first time. This book shows teachers how to use the Writer's Notebook in the classroom.