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Mechanics of Writing

Do your students struggle with the mechanics of writing? Even the basics?

Yeah, mine do, too.

So this post is all about THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.

THE GOOD: We have written more this year than any other year.

THE BAD: The majority of my students are still making simple mistakes.

THE UGLY: In a ONE paragraph summary last week that they submitted to me electronically, ALL of them had to make corrections, and 15 out of 16 had to make corrections THREE times, and THEN some STILL had mistakes.

We are talking about capitalization errors, simple punctuation errors, leaving words out, using the wrong word, and spelling mistakes with simple words.


To be honest, today I almost cried.

I wanted to GIVE UP.

Are they not embarrassed? Do they not care?

But then as I was researching (yeah, I guess you figured out I didn’t give up), and reading, and tweeting, and getting some good feedback from other teachers, I realized something:

Through their writing, they are really telling me that however I have been teaching editing has not worked.

I, the teacher, have got to make some adjustments. Some serious adjustments. And quickly.

So instead of going with my original plan this week for english/writing, I’m gonna modify it a little.

Tomorrow we are going to learn how to do an “Express Lane Edit”. You can read about this concept by Jeff Anderson HEREΒ in a Voices in the Middle article that he wrote.

Tomorrow we’re going SHOPPING. For some errors. OR some good writing mechanics.

We are going to CHECK THEM OUT.

And of course we are going to write a RECEIPT for the ones we find.

Then somehow in this overwhelming curriculum, and in our stretched to the max schedule, we ARE GOING to become editors of our own writing. And we are going to get good at it. πŸ™‚



9 thoughts on “Mechanics of Writing

  1. I definitely struggle with this with my tenth graders, too! Thanks for the recommended reading. Editing is such a struggle, and I hope this new approach works for in your classroom!

    • Amal-

      I hope it does, too! I can’t seem to get on a regular schedule with anything this year which is making me feel crazy!

  2. Shannon, thanks for sharing this! I usually do a punctuation study with my students that focuses on using punctuation with meaning, not just following the rules. I haven’t gotten to it yet this year–which is killing me!–and this could be a go-to lesson in the meantime. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and believe me, you’re not the only one who feels this way. πŸ™‚

  3. Shannon,
    I appreciate your persistence and your overburdened curriculum. It all takes time and it adds up. At least that’s what I think. You may not see it this year, but education is a cumulative process that each student takes in at their own rate. I love Jeff Anderson. If anyone could make mechanics fun, he’s the one! Hang in there. I’m there too.

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