Language Sensei

A Language Teacher's Journey

“Just 1 More Thing…” A Quick Peer Editing Activity…


“Just 1 more thing…” – it was a favourite line of Columbo’s (and if you remember him you are my contemporary) and even Steve Jobs (who can forget his ‘one more thing’ iPhone?). And for me it’s also a ‘tagline’ for a peer editing activity. There are times when I want in-depth discussion of a piece between students. However when the piece isn’t long enough (or I don’t want to do the full feedforward activity) a quick look for  quick level up is needed. So enter…”Just 1 More Thing…”  Here’s how I use it.

Before the activity:

  • Students have created a piece of work – sentences, a paragraph, some ‘chunk’ of writing that utilizes unit structures. In my case it was Japanese 11 and students were asked to create 8 sentences using a particular structure and then work in several structures somewhere over the 8 sentences (eg. a reason, an ‘although’, a habitual action, an opinion etc.)

Using the Activity:

  • I announce the idea of ‘just one more thing…’ and ask them to consider if they were asked to add just one more thing to what they have written
  • As a group they generate ideas for what that one more thing might be. I have whiteboard tables in my class and students worked together to come up with their list (on the table). Students in today’s class came up with various ideas including: intensifiers, ~ly words, frequencies, want to’s etc. As they brainstormed, I walked around and then would ask students to put one of their ideas up on the board. After a few minutes we had about 7 suggestions on the board.
  • Students are then told that they are going to meet up with their first partner. They will exchange pieces and have 2 minutes (you can adjust but this timing worked for us) to silently read the piece and think of a ‘just 1 more thing’ suggestion. They could not talk with their partner until the 2 minutes were done.
  • After the 2 minutes they have about 1 1/2 minutes to give their suggestions and receive information from their partner.
  • When that time is up it is on to the next. For today’s class my students completed 3 rounds. After the rounds they had time to alter, adjust, edit their piece before handing it in..

Why I Like This…

  • Students have concentrated silent time to read. They are thinking about ‘level ups’ they might suggest. They are also seeing ideas for their own piece.
  • The timing is great because it forces them to concentrate and really think. The shortened ‘suggestion’ time also ensures that a student is not overwhelmed by those partners who think it’s their job to totally edit the piece.
  • It’s relatively quick (15-20 minutes for me start to end of editing) and can be adapted for any level

Why They Like This…

  • Students are more aware of the little things that they can do to level up their piece
  • They get a quick suggestion or two to add to their piece.
  • They know that their piece is understandable (and if parts aren’t then more than 1 partner has pointed out the problem part)
  • They get the satisfaction of being able to offer a suggestion – no matter their level
  • They get to see what others have done – and maybe ‘steal’ an idea or two to add

And Just 1 More Thing…

Again – it’s another snappy name for a pretty routine activity…and somehow it makes it more engaging…!




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