Posts Tagged ‘errors’

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What I Gain By Sharing My Mistakes

posted: 3.8.11 by Traci Gardner

253412963_224c3e8248_mWe all make mistakes. As a beginning blogger, I decided I didn’t like post titles and wasn’t going to worry about them. It didn’t seem to be a big deal, but years later I realized my mistake.

Around 2003, I shifted from using flat HTML files for my blog to using the Blogger site to publish my posts. In my flat-file system, I simply dated the posts, but the Blogger entry form had a field for titles.

It sounds absurd now, but that little title box on the Blogger form caused me endless anxiety. I didn’t feel capable of writing titles. Nothing sounded smart enough. My posts were simple diary entries or journals then. Choosing official titles for each and every one seemed silly.

I silenced the perfectionist in my head and decided to ignore the title field. I didn’t title posts on Blogger unless I had some compelling reason—and I never thought about that decision again until a year ago when I was trying to add a calendar widget to my blog, which now uses WordPress.

When I tried to use the newly installed calendar, I discovered that most of my old entries were missing. I was terrified that I had accidentally deleted them. After a few panicked moments, I realized that the problem was the missing titles.

The calendar widget couldn’t link to those old, untitled Blogger posts. The entry title should have been the text for the link. Since there was no title, there could be no link. It would be similar to writing hundreds of untitled poems, deciding you want to publish your collected works, and then realizing there was no workable way to list them in the index. [read more]

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Categories: Teaching with Technology
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Grounding Teaching in Research

posted: 1.13.11 by Andrea Lunsford

My last post detailed principles that have guided my teaching over the last thirty-five years. One additional principle has also been important to me:  the best teaching of writing is thoroughly grounded in research.  I use the term “research” fairly broadly, to include research in the histories and theories of rhetoric and writing as well as on the writing practices we see all around us.

In fact, I first became interested in textbooks because of some research I was doing on student writing in Canada and Scotland in the last part of the 19th century: what I found was that teachers were commenting on and marking “errors” that were very different from the ones I saw in student writing in this time and place. I still remember one professor wringing his hands over the inability of students to properly distinguish between “shall” and “will.” Those research findings led Bob Connors and me to our national study of error in student writing—back in 1984. (Those research findings on errors, and additional research we did on teacher response, informed the first edition of The St. Martin’s Handbook.) [read more]

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Categories: Research
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Attack of the Grammar Nazis

posted: 2.25.08 by Barclay Barrios

Ask your students to hunt down grammatical errors in the real world: business signs, newspaper articles, song lyrics, and more. For each error they locate, they should also locate the section of the handbook that addresses the issue. Use this also as an opportunity to discuss the contexts that make error-free writing most important.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Business Writing, Grammar & Style, Popular Culture
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What’s Missing?

posted: 12.31.07 by Barclay Barrios

At midterm, ask students to review the work they’ve produced so far and also the handbook being used in class. What errors have they made and what problems have they experienced in their writing that the handbook hasn’t addressed? In small groups, have them share these lists and then as a collaborative project ask students to write material to address these concerns. Share the results with the whole class in order to extend the handbook.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Collaboration, Handbooks
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AutoCorrect Customization

posted: 12.17.07 by Barclay Barrios

Microsoft Word’s AutoCorrect feature can correct errors as you type them. What’s more, students can customize this tool to focus on errors they typically make. Ask students to customize AutoCorrect by going to Tools > AutoCorrect Options > AutoCorrect; have them add in spelling or typing errors they tend to make in their drafts. Alternatively, challenge students to turn this feature off completely, forcing them to proofread more carefully.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Proofreading/Editing, Teaching with Technology
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Citing Error

posted: 3.21.07 by Barclay Barrios

Before a draft is due, ask students to proofread their essays for grammatical errors. If they find any, they should copy them to a new sheet, correct the errors, and then provide MLA citations for the pages of the handbook that support those corrections.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Citing Sources, Drafting, Grammar & Style, Proofreading/Editing, Punctuation & Mechanics, Revising
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Grammar Hunt

posted: 12.4.06 by Barclay Barrios

Bring in sentences from drafts that have errors or are syntactically strained. Put the class into groups and have each group work on first identifying the error, then finding the section of the handbook that addresses it, then correcting it. The group with the most correct answers (and corrections) gets a prize (chocolate is a good motivator).

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Categories: Collaboration, Grammar & Style, Learning Styles, Punctuation & Mechanics
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Customizing the Grammar Checker

posted: 10.23.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have your students use Microsoft Word (in the computer classroom, at home, or in one of the campus labs on their own). Tell them to open one of their drafts and then click Tools » Options » Spelling & Grammar tab » Settings. Word can check for a variety of grammatical and stylistic errors, though we may not want Word checking for everything it can check for. Each student should choose one of the many unchecked options. Use the handbook to research that “error” and then offer advice to the class on whether or not they should have Word look for that error: Is it a serious error? Is it easier to find on your own? Is it a question of preference and not an error at all?

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Grammar & Style, Learning Styles, Teaching with Technology
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