I noticed that a lot of the fourth graders in my class had trouble with spelling and grammar. I wanted to plan some lessons that would help them improve the overall quality of their writing. I decided that it was time to teach them how to proofread.
In my first lesson, I turned to the white board and started writing as the kids watched.
“Tody is a gud day. I went to resess and playd with my frend. We ran arownd the skool and had fun. Aftir school I desided to bye a CD player so I cud here my favrit song.”
As I wrote, I heard some confused comments in the class behind me.
“Miss, you spelled that wrong!” “What? Is that how you spell…”
Then, as they realized I was doing this on purpose, they started laughing. They laughed and laughed as I wrote each error.
I asked the class if they could see that some things were wrong with my sentences. I let them look at the board and then take turns coming up and fixing one of the errors with my dry erase markers. They had so much fun doing this and, when we had fixed everything, asked if we could do it again. We had time for two more rounds of mistake-filled sentences, and they seemed to really enjoy the process.
I did this again with my second group but added another element. After two rounds of fixing sentences, it seemed that they needed something to change it up. I let two of the kids come to the board and write their own sentences filled with purposeful spelling and grammar mistakes. The rest of the class then continued as usual, with different kids coming up to fix the errors they found.
This was a really fun activity for the kids and a great way to introduce proofreading. Some of the errors I included were easy for them but others were things I had seen the class struggle with (like using here and hear correctly). My plan was to have them eventually proofread and edit their own writing so I wanted to introduce it in a way that was enjoyable and not frustrating.