Create an Army of Mistake Spotters: Education World’s Daily Edits

Daily Edits are a simple, but effective resource to get your students poring over texts, looking for mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation. Essentially, a daily edit is a paragraph of text on a single topic, with 10 mistakes for the students to spot. Some of the topics are US-centric and the spelling is American, but there are hundreds of paragraphs here on quirky topics (although “quirky” seems to have acquired a few new connotations recently). Each paragraph has 10 mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation for students to find and correct.

How do I use them? I cut and paste the uncorrected paragraph onto the top half of a Smart Notebook slide and then snip the corrected paragraph onto the bottom half. I then use the blind (in Notebook) to conceal the answers.

At the start of the English lesson my class file in, quickly scan the paragraph and I appoint a student to act as teacher and make the corrections recommended by the students. This prompts a lot of dialogue and gets the students using a lot of grammatical terminology to justify their decisions.

I’ve been using Daily Edits for about 3 months now and the main benefit I have found is that my students’ self-editing has improved (I’m finding myself correcting fewer simple spelling and punctuation errors). I haven’t had time to quantify this, but the students’ general accuracy in summatively assessed written pieces has improved more than I would have expected at this point in the school year. I am also noticing more corrections in their early drafts, but I am pushing this independently of the daily edits.

Daily Edits are a flexible resource in terms of how you adapt them for use in your classroom. Currently I use them for whole class discussion, but you could choose to print them and give them out in different groupings or individually. Yes, they are specific to the US and they do need some adaptation, but using them is much less labour-intensive than writing your own from scratch.

I love resources like this that can be sprinkled across a scheme of work without too much interference. The students enjoy the routine; I get to sit back and listen to some great dialogue about language, and the kids’ writing inches forward a step. Nice.

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