Easy Ways to Correct Writing

writing Feb 15, 2024

https://bit.ly/WritingErrors <-- The poster I made.

To my surprise, my students requested that I give them more writing prompts so they could practice what they were learning. I don’t like giving writing prompts because I don’t like grading them. It takes forever to go through each one, write notes, and make corrections, even if I’m only focusing on a few items, and then it is highly discouraging when I see them take those papers that I worked so hard on and instantly ball them up and toss them into recycling. Plus, I knew from attending past conferences, and seeing it with my own eyes, that correcting their paper doesn’t help them learn.

What helps them learn would be to have 1-1 time with me but I can’t give each student the time they need within one class period so, for me, it was always easier to just not have them write. However, I was excited that my students wanted to push themselves so I decided to figure out how to make this work and I reached out to a friend in the English department who shared that at her last school, she had made a poster of the Most Common Mistakes and as she graded her students papers, she would write the number on their paper that corresponded to the mistake. This way, they would figure out what mistake they made and correct it themselves.

I loved this idea! I immediately got to work creating my own poster and after many, many edits I have something that is good enough to share! The link will take you to my Dropbox (you don’t need an account) and you are welcome to download it and adjust it to your own class. The only negative I’ve found to this process so far is that from the first write to turning in the corrections takes about a week.

I love using this in class because...

  • It puts the focus back on the students to correct their own writing.
  • I can choose what to correct for each paper. Choosing to focus on simple corrections for the struggling students and on more higher thinking corrections for the high flyers.
  • It helps diminish the learned helplessness that so many students have internalized. If they don't understand from the description, there is a short video for them to watch.
  • I can use the writing for horizontal conjugation practice.
  • I can use the writing, after combining the stories, as a class story. Kids love seeing the sentences they wrote in a story!

What this accomplishes... https://bit.ly/WritingErrors <-- The poster I made.

  • Put the onus back on the student.
  • Make them slow down to make their corrections.
  • Frees me to help struggling students.
  • Makes it easier to grade (although it’s a bit of a learning curve to remember the numbering.)
  • This does not teach a grammar concept - it just helps the students correct mistakes.

The order...

  • The students write a paragraph based on a prompt usually focused on Special Person of the Week.
  • I use the Common Error Poster to point out their errors (up to me what errors and how many)
  • Give the writing back for them to correct (I’m working on this. I think the next time we do it I’ll have them write it double spaced and make the corrections underneath the mistake.)
  • There are short videos for them to watch for more information. Click here for the playlist.
  • I grade it based on if they actually corrected it. 5 points off per mistake not corrected.
    • This means that I don’t put in (much) more work than the students themselves
    • This lets them try to use grammar they might not know without fear of being punished for it by a low grade

https://bit.ly/WritingErrors <-- The poster I made.

Below are 3 examples of what a corrected essay looks like.

Below are 3 examples of what it looks like to combine all the writings into one.

Spanish 2 wrote a paragraph based on the Special Person of the Week. There was no grammar focus.

Chloe es una estudiante y es muy simpática y bonita. Es una chica y tiene 16 años. Tiene pelo rubio y ojos verdes y tiene gafas negras. No habla mucho y es baja. No le gusta la escuela porque está muy agotada y gruñón (grumpy) en la mañana. Vive al lago con sus padres. No tiene hermanos, pero tiene ocho animales; incluye 6 gatos y 2 perros. Un gato es adorable. Tiene la clase de español y en la clase, es numero 3. A ella le gusta la fruta – es su comida favorita – especialmente uvas moradas, pero también le gustan Jolly Ranchers. Ella piensa que café es ni fu ni fa. Chloe es muy talentosa y cómica. Vive en una casa grande y tiene una relación buena con su madre y padre. Su animal favorito es un torro (pero también un gato y un cerdo) y su color favorito es azul (o tal vez rosado). No juega deportes, pero toma la clase de español y AP Historia del mundo y tiene un novio. En su tiempo libre le gusta leer mucho. Su ropa es muy linda y ella da muchos complementos. 

Spanish 3 was working on Commands and they focused on telling the Special Person how to have a good life.

Ethan es un chico en mi clase de español y tiene 17 años. Está haciendo malas decisiones y podría ir a la cárcel. Es un buen estudiante y la cárcel no es un lugar agradable para los buenos estudiantes. Ethan, mi amigo, para no ir a la cárcel, sé amable con la policía. Escúchame. Habla de tus emociones, no te las guardes. Sigue las reglas y sé bueno. Disfruta de las cosas buenas de la vida, como el Sol, la naturaleza y la luz. No grites a tu abuela. Sé bueno con la gente y ayuda a los pobres y a los enfermos. Ten cuidado con tus opiniones y trabaja duro. Abre tu mente a nuevas ideas y lee libros. No llegues tarde y no comas dulces. No robes los restaurantes ni a la gente. Paga tus facturas. No digas mentiras o no tendrás amigos e irás a la cárcel. Nadie tiene amigos en la cárcel. Sé bueno. Juega limpio. Ten cuidado en la escuela y no consumas cocaína. No tomes drogas ilegales. No sigas a las chicas a callejones oscuros.  Escúchame siempre y hazlo que te digo. Una última cosa, si trabajas en una granja de cerdos tu vida será perfecta.

Spanish 4 did a quick write about the Special Person of the Week and I had them work with Commands as a review.

Rylee está en la clase de español cuatro. Rylee es una chica y tiene pelo negro. Es tímida, cómica, y amable. Es una artista y es muy buena como artista. También es buena con sus amigos. Es muy responsable y es empleada a la biblioteca. Juega Animal Jam en la biblioteca. Es un problema porque los niños quieren usar la computadora y Rylee les dice, “No. Yo juego Animal Jam.” Tiene dos secretos. Piensa que nadie sabe su secreto: Está enamorada con Ryan Gosling y tiene una obsesión con queso. Le gusta queso mucho mucho mucho.  Está robando queso de las tiendas - necesita ayuda. Roba queso de Walmart, Target, Meijer, y muchas más tiendas. Necesita pagar para el queso y ser responsable. Rylee no debe comer el queso. Necesita hablar con una terapista, pero la terapista le dice, “¡RYLEE! ¡COMA QUESO! ¡QUESO ES LA RESPUESTA! ¡Cómetelo!” No es una buena terapista. Come tanto queso que se imagina que tiene por amigo a un lobo ártico. Es un malo lobo árctico y besa la mamá de Rylee. A Rylee le gusta tanto el queso que comienza a cocinar queso como si fuera metanfetamina, como Walter White. Es un genio cocinando queso y tiene un imperio del queso. Está muy contenta de cómo le ha ido la vida.

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