To teach students how to write well they need to learn how to spot their own mistakes. I don’t know about you, but nothing drives me crazier than reading the work of students, chock full of the same old spelling and grammatical errors (as I’m sure I drove my own teachers crazy). Of course making errors is all part of the process of learning how to write, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t train bad habbits out of our kids.
With lower level students, that might mean me throwing a few sample sentence patterns from our textbook up on the board and asking the kids to tell me what’s wrong with them:
“There’s no period!”
“That’s not how you spell calculator!”
“There’s no verb in that sentence!”
“The first word in that sentence needs a capital letter!”
With higher level students, though, I tend to focus more on general editing skills – that is, finding the errors in unfamilliar reading passages. And for that I inititally turn to the proofreading and editing worksheets from Super Teacher Worksheets. They’ve prooved invaluable in helping my students develop the error-tracing laser eyes that we teachers are blessed with.
Here are some free samples from the site to try out for yourself:
They’re so simple to use. Just pass out one of the worksheets to your students and give them about ten minutes to find the errors, either alone or in small groups. Afterwards, you go through the reading passage together and discuss where the errors are. My students love the challenge and take a great deal of pleasure finding what’s wrong with someone else’s work.