Archive for the ‘Proofreading/Editing’ Category

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Selling the Value of Revision

posted: 12.3.10 by archived

I have used many technologies to comment on student drafts—green or purple (never red!) pen on paper essays, the comment feature in MS Word, Google docs—but my primary goal is always to open students’ eyes to possibilities for revision. I want them to experience the perseverance of trying to say, clearly and vividly, what you mean to say; the joy of deliberating over words like colors from a paint box, or moving sections of an essay the way you would play with building blocks; the sense of comfort that writing is not finished until you declare it final. But how do I go about teaching this? Surely not by grabbing the pen out of a student’s hand to “fix” his or her writing? I tell my students that words should drip off their pens like sand, that writers don’t work in concrete. But it’s a hard sell.

When I hear my students say, “I’m done. It’s finished. I said what I want to say,” I wonder about the sources of their intractability. Part of it is boredom, no doubt, with topics they don’t care about (maybe because they didn’t spend time enough at the invention stage, or because assignments boxed them in too tightly). For some, the demands of busy lives or old-fashioned laziness may be factors. But there’s also the sense, for many, that they only need concern themselves with “fixing errors,” that correct spelling and mechanics are the chief goal in writing. [read more]

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Categories: Holly Pappas, Proofreading/Editing, Revising
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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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Colorful Quotation Marks

posted: 12.3.07 by Barclay Barrios

Students often forget to use single quotation marks for quotations within quotations. Have students search for quotation marks using their word processor. Ask them to find the first one and change the font color for that quotation mark to green; then have them find the next one and change it to red. As students repeat this process, alternating green and red, they build a visual record of where quotations start and end. They can then review their drafts to make sure they didn’t unintentionally end a quotation by failing to use a single quotation mark.

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Categories: Integrating sources, Proofreading/Editing, Punctuation & Mechanics
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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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Designing Correction

posted: 10.23.06 by Barclay Barrios

Review in class the list of correction symbols in the handbook as well as any additional symbols you use. Have the students work in groups to first identify their five most common errors, then locate the handbook resources on those errors, and then, finally, design correction symbols that can be used in peer revision groups or when you provide comments. Encourage them to be creative in coming up with symbols.

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Categories: Collaboration, Learning Styles, Peer Review, Proofreading/Editing
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Shorthand Cheat Sheet

posted: 9.11.06 by Barclay Barrios

At the start of the semester, provide a cheat sheet to your students that lists the most common comments or editing marks you use in marking student errors and in commenting. For each, provide a page number for the section of the handbook students should be checking to address that error or to revise from that comment.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Proofreading/Editing, Student Success
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