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General Chat - anything Goes > Editing advice for children - Help Please

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Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments I've been asked to share my experience of editing others' writing with a class of 10-11 year olds.

I think a complication of our experiences may be more enlightening.

Have a think of what advice you'd share and I'll get back to you tomorrow with the learning objective.

Together, we can make it quite informative and entertaining, I'm confident.

Post photos and whatnot, and there could even be a PowerPoint!

Go on, let's mould young minds.


message 2: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 7939 comments Do you actually mean compilation?

Although compilations can often descend into complication :~)


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Oh, grief.

Yes, dear, compilation.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments I wonder if, perhaps, any of you would be interested in doing a Skype chat even...


message 5: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 4053 comments I'll splurge some random thoughts. Not sure how coherent they will be... !

What do we mean by "editing"? At one end, it's about accuracy - the boring stuff about spelling, grammar, punctuation. Proofreading. A lot of that is factual. It's either right or wrong.

A bit further up the scale we start to get more stylistic edits. Maybe a sentence is too long or too complicated. The meaning of a passage might be ambiguous. We start to get into concepts like cliches and lifeless prose. Too much description or not enough?

By now, we are less factual. It can be about personal preferences more than definitely right and wrong.

At the other end of the scale, we have our emotional response to the writing. It was exciting - I liked it. Or ... this bit was boring. Or ... I didn't understand what was happening in this part.

By the time we get to this sort of editing, there are usually no right and wrongs. It's nearly all subjective.

The difficult bit for the person giving the feedback is balancing being helpful with being gentle. No-one likes their writing being ripped apart, so we need to be very careful when we give feedback at the more emotional end of the scale. Good feedback builds someone up - it doesn't destroy them. And recognise that editing at the more emotional end is not about right and wrong. It could just be one person's opinion.

The challenge for the person receiving the feedback is learn from it without being hurt. The other person is not attacking you - they are commenting on your writing. At least that's what they should be doing.

There's good news and bad news here. The good news is that anyone can get better at writing, as long as they get good feedback and are prepared to listen to it and give it a chance.

The bad news is ... actually, I've already told you the bad news. It needs to be good feedback and you need to be prepared to listen to it and give it a chance.

Does any of that make sense? I'm making this up as I go along (as usual).


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Will, that's great! Kids, of course, are quite self-centred so your sharing from a personal point of view means they can relate to it personally.


message 7: by G J (Gaff to my friends) (last edited Apr 29, 2015 01:13PM) (new)

G J (Gaff to my friends) Reilly | 1901 comments What Will said. :-D

I think editing always starts with the author. A good author will always do as much as they possibly can to edit their own work before handing it to someone with a more objective approach.

I'm sure there's nothing worse than pulling out typos every other sentence. My editor ... Who shall to all intents and purposes remain nameless, despite the fact that she's awesome, and made a good story a saleable novel, doesn't try to change the story, just make it a better read.

I suppose an editor to me, is someone who's willing to tell you the truth but without jumping up and down on your feelings.

Like I said ... What Will said ...


message 8: by Rosen (new)

Rosen Trevithick (rosentrevithick) | 2273 comments I generally tell kids not to worry about spelling and grammar in a first draft. That way all children get a chance to be creative, rather than just those who are confident with English.

Also, getting them to swap work and pretend to be professional editors, has proved fun.


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22031 comments Best editing tip I ever came across was to read it aloud.
Actually in a situation where you can swap, reading somebody else's work aloud would work even better as you only know what they actually wrote, not what they think they wrote or what they meant to write

I'm not sure at what age reading aloud would work, but that's a techie professional thing I'll leave to you :-)


message 10: by David (new)

David Manuel | 1147 comments Editorial Advice

"Concomitant" is a gaudy word,
Or so I've heard.
A simpler substitute is preferred.
Readers will be deterred
If to a dictionary they're referred.

Keep sentences short to be blessed.
Three words are best.
Object, subject, predicate
Suffice. More, readers cannot digest:
Wordy authors they detest.

Avoid subordinate clauses, also,
Especially ones that begin, "although."
Contrasts confuse the average Joe.
Just say no
To exceptions. Your writing will flow.

Complexities, too, are anathema
(as is "anathema" such words cause trauma).
Don't explain about intricate schema
Unless seeking a cure for insomnia.
And please never mention dilemmas!

Simplicity is simply considerate
When writing for the illiterate.
Just assume that your reader's an idiot.
If required to ruminate,
On your work they will defecate.

And find a shorter word for "defecate."


message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22031 comments Love it
Sadly true :-(


message 12: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments Not really, or we'd all be writing monosyllabic babble. But a good one, nonetheless. :)


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22031 comments We writers of monosyllabic babble obviously know our place :-(

Mind you that is a phrase to conjure with :-) Almost on a par with the classic Andrew K. Lawston "bold tales of freely-punctuated forbidden vampire love"


message 14: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments I just don't like dumbing down. Especially for children.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Love it! May just use it!

Now, who is gonna sort out a power point over the weekend?

Rosen, would you be interested in doing a Skype?

Anyone?


message 16: by David (new)

David Manuel | 1147 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "Love it! May just use it!

Now, who is gonna sort out a power point over the weekend?

Rosen, would you be interested in doing a Skype?

Anyone?"


You are welcome to use it! I should add that I agree with Kate that children should be challenged, not written down to. In my defense, this poem was not intended so much as advice as my reaction to being slammed by an elected official who thought something I wrote was hard to understand because I used the word "irredentism." So perhaps I should have made that line toward the end, "Just assume politicians are idiots." Right, Jim?


message 17: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 4053 comments I can do a quick powerpoint if you'd like. Just tell me what you want it to say, how many slides, pictures, words, movies.


message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim | 22031 comments David wrote: "You are welcome to use it! I should add that I agree with Kate that children should be challenged, not written down to. In my defense, this poem was not intended so much as advice as my reaction to being slammed by an elected official who thought something I wrote was hard to understand because I used the word "irredentism." So perhaps I should have made that line toward the end, "Just assume politicians are idiots." Right, Jim? ..."

Given the fact that most of them seem to be the results of very expensive oxbridge educations and if not private schools, then the sort of 'comprehensive' you've got to be very rich or lucky to get into, it is surprising how poorly educated some of them seem to be.
Is it that our political classes are getting inbred?


G J (Gaff to my friends) Reilly | 1901 comments Kath wrote: "I just don't like dumbing down. Especially for children."

I agree Kath. There's a big difference between simplicity and dumbing down. Many of the young adults I teach appreciate the fact that I explain things simply, while still treating them like adults. The only way people learn and grow is if you challenge them, without making them feel small.


message 20: by David (new)

David Manuel | 1147 comments Jim wrote: "Is it that our political classes are getting inbred? ..."

Over on this side of the Atlantic, I think it's more the result of the self-selection process. The decision to run for public office requires a particular combination of ego and arrogance combined with blockheadedness.


message 21: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 25093 comments And money. Loads of money!


message 22: by Patti (baconater) (last edited May 01, 2015 06:12AM) (new)

Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Will wrote: "I can do a quick powerpoint if you'd like. Just tell me what you want it to say, how many slides, pictures, words, movies."

Sorry, I messed up in my first post. They're 8-9 year olds, not 10-11.
Really, whatever you think would be appropriate. I trust your judgement. The class teacher is very flexible about time. She's willing to devote as much as necessary. It's very much where the kids want to take it.


Took a couple photos of the displays in the classroom that may help, Will. Shows what's being targeted in class.




https://www.goodreads.com/photo/group...


https://www.goodreads.com/photo/group...


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Eep was so rushed to get the photos up before my dinner got cold, I forgot to say thank you!

Thank you, will! You rock!


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments These are the learning outcomes the class teacher is hoping the kids will achieve.

In short I just want to expose my students what an editor looks like and does in the real world
-students will be able to describe the job of the editor
- relate what they're doing to the job of the editor
- predict/ discuss the steps of editing in the "professional realm"


message 25: by Helen (new)

Helen Laycock (helenlaycock) | 39 comments When I used to teach, there was always an opportunity for the children to offer up their writing for critique by their peers. This was done as a reading aloud session, so wasn't about the nitty gritty of spelling or punctuation. It was about getting to the real essence of what makes writing enticing and enthralling - openings, dialogue, suspense, endings...

The rule was simple for those wishing to comment: say what you enjoyed; never criticise, but make suggestions of what might have worked more effectively.

This worked brilliantly as an editing tool. They were able to spot weaknesses in vocabulary and suggest alternatives, they could point out areas where confusion could arise, and, most importantly, even those who didn't take part benefited from hearing how writing could be improved.

Another point which is quite important to make is that children are told so often to keep workbooks pristine that they are afraid to cross out and make a mess. They need to know that changing words, ideas, structure, is all a valuable part of the writing and editing process. It can take a long time to get it right.


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments We use 'two stars and a wish'. Two things you liked and one thing you think could be improved when peer reviewing.

I'll be delivering the lesson tomorrow. I may name drop a few of you and thanks, Will, I'll be using your power point.


message 27: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 4053 comments You did spot the second one too?


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Second one?


Patti (baconater) (goldengreene) | 61757 comments Lesson was great fun. Thanks for the help!


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