Thursday, April 19, 2012

Grammar Police

Yesterday morning, I decided to ask my students next quarter to be on the lookout for grammar and punctuation errors in the real world. I was considering how hard this would be and if I should assign points for the assignment.

I left the house and went through the McDonald's drive-thru (through?) on the way to work. Bingo! How easy was that? Five minutes out in the world and there was a glaring misuse of the poor, embattled apostrophe. The girl probably wondered what I was doing as she tried to hand me my drink and I was busy taking a picture with my iphone. I'm definitely going to make this an assignment, with bonus points for a photo. Unfortunately, it shouldn't be hard.

Have any of you assigned something similar? I'd love to hear how it worked out!


  1. I don't have it as an assignment, but I give tickets for a drawing for any typos that the students bring in. They get excited whenever they find one to be the first one to show it to me. They find them in textbooks, handouts, computer presentations, and just about everywhere. They have become much more careful readers. One of my original reasons for doing this activity was to make them better at proofreading. Periodically, I find a fun "prize" to use for the drawing. Sometimes it's an object, sometimes it's a $5 gift certificate to a place they would like.

  2. I actually assigned this as an ongoing extra credit opportunity in my last two English classrooms. Students had to snap a picture of the error(s) and let me see. Only one student could earn a reward for each error, so I encouraged students to snap and show quickly!

    In addition, I would tweet the errors *I* found on our class Twitter and ask students to reply with a correction for the picture. You could do something similar with students' photos: have them text it to your Google voice number (if you didn't want students to have your real number) or e-mail address and post it on the class Twitter or website that way. :) It's kind-of fun to see the collection at the end of the year!

    Another ongoing extra credit opportunity we had was to find examples of things we had been studying in class in "the real world." It could be anything ELAR-related: a vocab word, hyperbole, an allusion to any of the works we studied, etc.

    I'm curious as to how many bonus points you reward students for each infraction they find. Also, did you place a limit on the number of bonus points a student could accumulate throughout the semester? I always struggle to put a point value on things, so I'm definitely interested in finding out what you have to say!

  3. Michele and Mrs. K,
    Thanks so much for your experience and ideas. I can't wait to do this. I think I will do a drawing to get them excited about it. I'll let you know how it goes!

  4. They get thrilled whenever they discover one to be the first one to demonstrate it to me. They discover them in books, giveaways, laptop or computer demonstrations, did you place a restrict on the number of bonuses a student could acquire throughout the semester