The Art of Editing


English Language Arts Grade 7 The Writing Process
Students review run-ons and how to edit them. Then they identify and edit verb tenses. Next they develop an editing checklist. Finally, they edit an excerpt.

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Here are the teacher pack items for The Art of Editing:

Preview - Scene 1
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Overview

In this experience, students review run-ons and how to edit them. Then they identify and edit verb tenses. Next they develop an editing checklist. Finally, they edit an excerpt.

Students will collaborate in small groups for Scene 3.

Note that additional rules are covered in the experiences Capitalization and Punctuation and Commonly Confused Words.

Objectives

  • Identify and edit run-ons.
  • Identify verb tenses.
  • Develop and apply an editorial checklist.

Duration

One class period.


Imagine you are at the store. In one of the aisles you see a sign that says: “Baby Needs Chips and Soda.” That sign would be pretty amusing—babies don’t need chips and soda. What this sign is actually telling you is that you can find chips and soda and diapers and wipes in that aisle.

When writing something even as short as a sign, it is important to edit your work. Even minor changes can make your writing clearer and easier to understand and ensure that you have correctly used grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling rules. In this experience, you will learn rules and strategies that you can apply while editing your work.

Objectives

  • Identify and edit run-ons.
  • Identify verb tenses.
  • Develop and apply an editorial checklist.


cartoon of an elephant in pajamas

“One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”


Look at this list of sentences. They are all in need of editing!

  1. Comedian Groucho Marx: “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.”
  2. Student answer on an exam: Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.
  3. Newspaper headline: Grandmother of eight makes hole in one.
  4. Newspaper headline: Students Cook & Serve Grandparents
  5. Topped with maple syrup and whipped cream, Darren ate up the waffles.
  6. Mom packed sandwiches for the children in paper bags.
  7. Spilling over 85,000 cubic feet of water per second, we got wet from the spray of Niagara Falls.
  8. After gathering information on the Internet, elephants are an endangered species.


Choose one and explain what it says as it is written. Then explain how it can be edited to express the author’s intended meaning.

Post your answer

Help the students see that misplaced modifiers or incorrect punctuation can alter the meaning of a sentence, sometimes with comic effect.

Sample answers:

  1. Literal meaning: The speaker shot an elephant. The elephant was wearing the speaker’s pajamas.
    Rewrite: One morning I was still in pajamas when I shot an elephant.
  2. Literal meaning: Lincoln was traveling on the back of an envelope.
    Rewrite: While traveling from Washington to Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address on the back of an envelope.
  3. Literal meaning: Grandmother makes a hole in one of her grandchildren.
    Rewrite: Grandmother of eight plays golf, makes a hole-in-one
  4. Literal meaning: The children used the grandparents as a source of food.
    Rewrite: Students cook meal & serve it to grandparents
  5. Literal meaning: Darren has maple syrup and whipped cream on his head while he eats waffles.
    Rewrite: Darren ate up the waffles, which were topped with maple syrup and whipped cream.
  6. Literal meaning: The kids are in paper bags and Mom packed sandwiches for them.
    Rewrite: Mom packed sandwiches in paper bags and gave them to the children.
  7. Literal meaning: We were spilling a lot of water!
    Rewrite: Since Niagara Falls has a flow of over 85,000 cubic feet of water per second, we got wet from the spray.
  8. Literal meaning: The elephants did an Internet search and as a result they are now an endangered species.
    Rewrite: Based on information we gathered from the Internet, we learned that elephants are an endangered species.


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The Complete List of Learning Experiences in The Writing Process Unit.
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