Using writing correction codes
This is a common tool to optimize learning opportunities from mistakes students make in written homework. You show the students where the mistakes are and what kind they are, and then they try to correct them as a second stage to the initial writing task.
Make copies of the writing correction codes and worksheet.
Writing correction codes
WW (Wrong word) As our plane flew on the mountains we saw snow.
WT (Wrong time) As our plane flew over the mountains we see snow.
WF (Wrong form) As our plane flew over the mountains we was seeing snow.
WO (Wrong order) As our plane over the mountain flew we saw snow.
SP (Spelling) As our plane flue over the mountains we saw snow.
P (Punctuation) As our plane flew over the mountains; we saw snow.
X (Extra word) As our plane flew over to the mountains we saw snow.
M (Missing word) As our plane flew over the mountains saw snow.
(Not clear) As our plane flew over the rivers we saw snow.
! (Silly mistake!) As our plane flew over the mountains we seed snow.
RW (Try re-writing) Our vehicle flies, we snow find, over mountains you saw it.
Worksheet: Can you correct these mistakes using the error correction codes?
1. When I was child, my father was very strict. M
2. I can cook meals my own. WO
3. About staying late, I had to stay home early. WW
4. And never you forget of your real name, or you will be invisible. X
5. When I am young, I used to go to the park. WT
6. The goverment welcomes the proposal. SP
7. Turn round and face to me. X
1. Collect homework and then select the most interesting/productive mistakes and prepare a worksheet for the class to work on together. Keep it short - this is tricky for students and takes time. You can make it harder by not underlining the mistakes (see worksheet on the left for an example). Make sure you first ask permission from your students to do this.
2. Ask your students to correct their homework in class (don't let this go on too long) and share some of the corrections with the group in mini-presentations. They can do this individually or in groups.
3. Use e-mail or Microsoft Word's insert comment tool to do this kind of work.
Students find this very motivating but there are some things to think about.
1. Don't overdo it. One correction per line of an extended text is enough.
2. Be consistent with the system you use. Choose your codes based on your students' level and awareness of mistakes.
3. Be supportive. Explain why you are doing this and be available to help.
4. Be punctual returning homework. Get a rhythm of correction going.
5. Encourage your students to re-submit their work as many times as they want. You can correct at different levels each time, for example, start with word and sentence structure, then look at style and layout.
6. Remember correcting your own mistakes is not easy.
1. Talk through the worksheet. You can ask the students to correct the mistakes on it using the codes. The first time you do this, explain to your students what you are doing and why (in L1 if necessary).
2. Set your writing homework. Ask students to double space or leave a clear margin.
3. Collect the homework and correct it using the correction codes. Underline the mistakes you want students to notice and add the codes, either underneath or in the margin.
4. Return the homework and ask students to take it home and correct it, then submit it again.
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