As most English teachers know, there is no substitute for the work involved in careful reading and grading of everything from single sentences to long essays or research papers. In order to speed that process along, I've created a guide that will help your students understand 14 of the most common grammar and usage errors in writing as well as the corresponding notations that they might expect to see from you in response. If you're like the typical English teacher, you don't have the time to write extensive comments or explanations every time you encounter, for example, a missing comma, a fragment, or an awkward sentence. This guide provides you and your students a list of symbols that represent such errors as well as corresponding mini lessons to help your students understand what went wrong and how to correct it.
You might want to make copies of the guide and give one to each of your students, which they could pull out whenever you hand back a writing assignment. This way they'll have a handy reference to help them revise and rewrite--a very useful tool for peer editing or writing workshops.
If you're someone who has not quite nailed down a succinct body of editing or proofreading notations, you'll find that these work well, and of course the list can be modified to fit your personal preferences. This is not a comprehensive list of writing errors--you would need a book for that. It is, however, a list of what I have found to be the most common errors you will encounter.
If you are a new English teacher or someone teaching a composition class for the first time, this guide would be great to have at the outset, but it would also come in handy any time you are looking for a quick reference to help you get through a stack of papers efficiently and effectively. At the same time it will help your students understand and improve upon the inevitable "marked up" papers that you will surely be handing back to them.
If your goal is to have your students produce better writing, this guide will certainly help. The package contains a "clean" Word document that can be altered to suit your needs, but I also include a "marked up" PDF copy of the guide, which will help you and your students see how the notations might be used in actual practice.
Thanks for considering Tim's Tool Box!