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Lesson Plan Title: Proofreading

Grade Level: 9-12

Duration: 50 minutes

Description: After students have reviewed and revised their essays several times, they will need to polish their papers by carefully proofreading each other's work.

Student Objectives: Students will identify and correct typographical errors, grammatical mistakes, awkward constructions, and citation problems.

List Materials:

  1. Copyediting (PDF)
  2. Works Cited (PDF)
  3. Third draft of essay
  4. MLA Handbook

Set Up and Prepare: Pair off students with partners. Have them exchange papers. Distribute Copy Editing PDF, Works Cited PDF. Distribute copies of MLA Handbook.


Step 1: Instruct students to proof each other's essays for spelling and typographical errors first. Ask them to circle spelling errors and write "SP" next to them. Have them circle typos and write the full word in the right-hand margin of the essay. Tell them to be on the lookout for missing words.

Step 2: Have students proof each other's essays for grammatical mistakes. Encourage them to use copyediting marks, where appropriate (see PDF). Instruct them to write "A.W.K." over awkward grammatical constructions. Ask them to pay special attention to verb tense and pronoun agreement. (You may want to give students an idea of common tense and agreement problems by putting a few up on the board.)

Step 3: Ask students to proof each other's essays for citation errors. Instruct students to carefully examine each fact, figure, or quotation to make sure each source is properly cited. For this part of the proofreading process, students should have access to the MLA Handbook. (You may want to review parenthetical citations before students begin.) Have students carefully proof the Works Cited page, cross-checking each entry against the Works Cited PDF and/or the MLA handbook.

Assess Students: Were students able to catch most mistakes? What kinds of errors did students most frequently miss? Circulate around the room helping students identify the three different types of errors.

Lesson Extension: Students should review the marks on their essays and take note of the types of errors they made. Ask students to write a brief report detailing their most common mistakes and identifying what they need to work on to improve their writing.

Evaluate Lesson: In what areas do students need the most help with their writing? Structure future lessons around these areas.

Assignments: Instruct students to take essays home, proofread them one last time, and make all corrections. For the next class, they should turn in the final draft of their persuasive essay.


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