Proofread Essay Lesson
From Theory to Practice
This lesson plan reviews the basic conventions for using quotations from works of literature or references from a research project, focusing on accurate punctuation and page layout. Students first discuss general proofreading strategies and the importance of checking quotations in their written work. They examine several passages and draw conclusions about the use of punctuation marks, including when various types of punctuation (comma, period, semicolons, colons, question marks, and exclamation points) go inside or outside quotation marks or after parenthetical citations. Students mark all the ending quotation marks on example passages and then check for correct punctuation, identifying which rules were used. Students are then asked to use this proofreading strategy on their own papers.
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Proofreading: This Website provides basic strategies students can use when proofreading their written work.
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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE
Constance Weaver argues in Grammar for Teachers (1979), "There seems to be little value in marking students' papers with corrections,' little value in teaching the conventions of mechanics apart from actual writing, and even less value in teaching grammar in order to instill these conventions" (64). Instead, learning about grammar, conventions, and text structures is most effective when student writers "learn through language." Contextualized in the students' own writing and their need to communicate with their readers, self-editing activities such as the strategy taught in this mini-lesson allow students not only to learn through language but to learn through their own language.
Weaver, Constance. 1979. Grammar for Teachers: Perspectives and Definitions. Urbana, IL: NCTE.
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Editor in Chief (Grades 5-8)
During this lesson, students will learn how to edit work and will practice common editing notations, marks and the use of colored pens when editing and rewriting work.
Familiarize students with common proofreading marks to emphasize the importance of editing as a part of the writing process.
Background Discussion (20 minutes)
1. Reinforce the idea that writing is a process that involves planning, revising, editing, rewriting, and sometimes even trying a new approach. All famous works of writing are the result of this process. Editing-as a way of getting feedback from others-is an essential step in creating polished writing, and students can support each other by editing each other's work.
Introduce students to an important job they may not even know exists: editor in chief. Explain that the typical responsibilities of an editor in chief include:
- Checking spelling, grammar, and style of written pieces
- Fact-checking information used in an article and examining references and citations
- Identifying and rejecting any work that appears not to be the writer's original work (plagiarism) or is work that doesn't suit the publication
- Directing a team of editorial staff
- Ensuring the final draft is complete and error-free
2. Introduce the common marks used by proofreaders as contained in the Proofreading Marks Student Printable. Briefly demonstrate the correct usage of each mark using a black Expo® Low Odor Dry Erase Marker to write out sample sentences containing common mistakes and then applying the correct proofreading mark with a red low odor dry erase marker. Share with students that editors generally use colored pens when editing so it's easy to see the proofreading marks.
Try these sentences to illustrate the most common proofreading marks:
Annie smiled when her her little brother asked her to read Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat. (Delete repeated word; italicize book title: The Cat in the Hat.)
We just moved to juneau alaska. (Capitalize place names; insert a comma between a city and state.)
Thats the new school tecnolugy center. (Insert apostrophe: that's; fix spelling: technology.)
What do you want for lunch (Insert question mark.)
Inspite of everything, we were still the best of Friends. (Insert space: in spite; change to lowercase: friends.)
When the new nieghbors moved in, we went over to say hello. (Transpose letters: neighbors.)
Everyone agreed that Sam was such a Goofy Cat as he was always jumping into the bath tub. (Change to lowercase: goofy cat; close the space: bathtub.)
Percy down the sidewalk and shouted, Hey, guys! Wait for me! (Insert word: ran; insert quotation marks: "Hey guys! Wait for me!")
Using the Student Printable (20 minutes)
3. Distribute colored pens and copies of the Proofreading Marks Student Printable. Invite students to work in pairs to edit the sample text found on the printable.
Lesson Wrap-Up (20 minutes)
4. As a fun way to review the correct answers to the Proofreading Marks Student Printable, invite the class to play a game of Editor in Chief. Divide the class into two teams and give each team a colorful Expo® Low Odor Dry Erase Marker. The person holding the marker will be the editor in chief for the round. Have each team make a line approximately six feet from the whiteboard with the editor in chief at the head of the line, but facing away from the board. Write a sentence or fragment of a sentence from the sample paragraph contained in the Proofreading Marks Student Printable on the board. Count to three and then have the editor in chief turn around and dash to the board to correct the sentence by adding the appropriate proofreading mark(s). Review the relevant grammar rule that applies to each error and correct any incorrect proofreading marks. At the end of the round, the editor in chief hands the marker to the next student in line. Continue playing until all students have had the opportunity to be the editor in chief, providing additional sentences to correct if necessary.
Peer edit! Have students take out a recent piece of writing and swap it with a classmate. Using the correct proofreading marks, have students edit their classmates' work with colored pens.
COMMON CORE STANDARD
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.