Quick Edit is a simple CALL activity which lets students work together in writing texts. It helps with critical reading and also allows peer checking which means grammar, spelling and vocabulary checks. Essentially it is a form of Peer Correction.
Note that although this is presented as a CALL activity, with very little change you can use it in a class without computers!
Each student will need to have their own computer.
Ideally each computer should have Word installed with the spell checker and grammar checker both turned off. If you do not have Word, then other word processors will be fine.
Beforehand, select a interesting subject for the students to write about. This should be something which interests them, which they know about and which should be, of course, of the right level.
You can spend some time discussing the subject with your class and getting ideas off them, writing relevant vocabulary on the board and so on. This activity is more about the process of writing and concerned more with how something is written rather than what is written so the more your students are ready beforehand, the better.
During this process you can work with them to come up with a single title for the piece they are about to write. This should be short, specific and to the point, for example:
- The London Olympics 2012
- Global Warming
- Lady Gaga
- James Bond
Have each student sit in front of a computer. They then have 10 minutes to write a short piece on the subject. You can go around the class helping them here, but try to help out only with content rather than language.
The next step is to get the students to swap places and correct each other’s work. The important part here is that the corrections need to be highlighted in the text.
So, for example, if you are using Word you can turn on the Track Changes function. If this is not possible, then make sure that all corrections are shown in a different colored font and strikethrough so that they are easily identifiable.
Then, the students swap back and check their original work. They may decide to ignore the changes made by the second student, or they may decide to keep them. Encourage discussion between students here about why certain errors were flagged and what the correct English should be.
If there is time, you can then have students swap again with a different classmate to get further input on their work.
Finally, get the students to print out the finished version of their text and hand it to you for checking. This will enable you to see what errors were not picked up by the whole class and what may need to be covered in a future lesson.