The checklist is divided into four different sections, with each section corresponding to a specific color of the pen. For example, in the first section the students use the black pen as they read through their project searching for mistakes involving indenting and the punctuation of dialogue.
In the second section students use the red pen as they read through their work again and search for run-on sentences and other mistakes involving commas and end punctuation. Blue is the color students use in the next section as they read their work a third time and search for mistakes of capitalization. I break down sections two and three even further by including specific occasions when commas and capitals are necessary. I change these sections throughout the year to reflect the rules we are learning at the time.
Finally, students use green to focus on spelling. In this step I ask the students to point to each word and circle the ones they are not 100% sure about. Then, the kids get dictionaries to look up these words.
The kids check off each part of each section as they proceed through the Editing Checklist.
New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.
Four-Color Editing Checklist
Directions: Check off each line as you use your four-color pen to complete the Editing Checklist.
Black is the color for indented paragraphs and dialogue.
______ All my paragraphs are indented correctly.
______ I have quotation marks around all my dialogue.
______ All my dialogue sentences are correctly punctuated.
Red is the color for run-on sentences and other punctuation.
______ I found and corrected all my run-on sentences.
I used commas every time I had:
______ Three or more items in a series
______ Cities and states (e.g., Santa Monica, California)
______ 2 sentences combined into one (e.g., I walked home, and I ate dinner.)
______ Numbers greater than 999 (e.g., 23,456)
Blue is the color for capitals.
I used a capital letter:
______ At the beginning of each sentence
______ For all names of people, places, and events
______ For the letter I
______ For days of the week and months of the year
______ For holidays and special events
Green is the color for spelling.
______ I circled all the words I wasnâ€™t 100% about
______ I used a dictionary to correct all misspelled words.