Middle schoolchildren learn in ways related to their ages. Educators develop teaching methods to give pre- and early adolescents every opportunity to integrate information. The website Education World interviewed Rick Wormeli, who wrote "Day One & Beyond: Practical Matters for New Middle-Level Teachers." Wormeli's insights into middle school learning helps to plan proofreading activities for this age group. Wormeli recommends not requiring middle school students to multitask, a principle that works well with proofreading exercises. Apply age-appropriate proofreading techniques to lay a foundation for students' future writing success.
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Middle schoolers learn more effectively, according to Wormeli, when performing one task at a time. Take advantage of this learning dynamic to teach students to slow down when going through the writing process. Assign stages of writing, including the proofreading stage, so students take time to be able to proof papers for errors. After middle school students write a first draft of an essay or other paper, instruct them to put their papers aside for one or two days. Ask students to bring their papers to class on the second or third day on which they will proofread their papers for spelling, grammar and sentence structure. Work on one paragraph at a time to keep concentration sharp.
Students need to know the types of writing errors for which they are proofing. Create a series of proofreading worksheets with spelling, punctuation and capitalisation errors. Assign class time for students to practice recognising and correcting common writing mistakes. Mix up the lessons to keep students mentally sharp. Give worksheets with only one type of error and worksheets with combinations of errors. Leading up to a writing project, quiz students to keep the information in the front of their minds and to help them to eliminate errors during all drafts.
Middle school students can benefit from paying attention to individual types of writing errors. Give students worksheets with no punctuation or with incorrect pronoun errors throughout the worksheets. Create worksheets with incorrect verb forms and singular and plural errors. Use varying types of written formats, such as essays and mock tests. Follow the University of North Carolina Writing Center's advice. Give students quiet work time for optimal concentration.
Giving students fresh eyes on unfamiliar written works can help them to see writing errors more clearly. Assign a short writing project in class. Ask students to write a paragraph about a homework reading from the previous day. When everyone is finished writing, instruct your students to pass their papers to the students behind them. Ask students to proofread their fellow students' work.
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