For the last lesson on proofreading with fourth-grade, I had them each write a paragraph. I gave them a few topics they could choose from: their favorite restaurant, the best part of their day, or how they thought they could be a good friend. Once they had completed their work, they had to find two people in the class to proofread their paragraph and mark the errors they found. After that, they had to have me check it. I would mark any mistakes the classmates hadn’t found and return the notebook.
The class then had to edit their paragraph and make sure to fix any mistakes I or their classmates had marked. After they were done, they would bring it up to me to check again. If they had fixed all of the errors, they got a small reward (we use play money to reward helping in class or doing extra work; then every month the kids get to “shop” at a store we set up in class :).
It was a great way to get the students thinking about what they write and then learning to go through and edit their work. They also had to learn to edit carefully as sometimes, as they re-wrote their paragraph, they didn’t remember to fix every mistake that had been marked!
I recently did this lesson again for my 1st – and 2nd – graders, but changed it a bit to make it simpler for them. I started out with the misspelled sentences on the board and they did a great job noticing the words that were wrong. Then I had the students write their own sentences in their notebooks. They were allowed to put in as many mistakes as they wanted! We ended up with things like,
Mie litle bruther iz funy!
i lik to play wth my dol.
my favarit speshl in scool is gim. Et is rilly fan.
We whent two a woter foll and jamed ovor et.
They were pretty creative! Then each student had to trade notebooks with a friend and try to find all the errors their classmate included. If time permitted, I let them use colored pencils to mark the mistakes.
Also, just to add something I learned: the first time I tried this lesson with the younger kids, I thought it would be fun to put each of their sentences up on the board. One – by – one, I would have each student show me their sentence and I would write it on the whiteboard. I’d ask the class what things were wrong in the sentence and fix the errors as they pointed them out. This was fun the first few times, but got pretty repetitive and took a long time to get through every kid’s sentence! That is why I switched to the grab-a-partner-and-correct-each-other’s-sentences method.
Hooray for always learning! 🙂