Typos! Spelling mistakes! Silly grammar errors! They’re not just a nuisance. They’re often the difference between a good paper and a great one.
A misplaced comma can affect how clearly a student communicates an idea. A spelling mistake can skew the accuracy of an answer. Typographical errors can change meaning entirely. And a run-on sentence? It can render an inspired thought incomprehensible.
Importance of Writing Mechanics
Attending to language conventions is crucial if students are to communicate with clarity and precision.
At the same time, we know that focusing too intently on writing mechanics can take students’ focus away from idea generation and thought development. So, we encourage our students to get their ideas out and to worry about the spelling, the grammar and the formatting once they know what they want to say. Then, we teach them to proof and edit their own work and that of their peers to refine and polish their final products.
Proofreading and Self-Editing Challenge
But no matter how much we emphasize its importance, no matter what strategies we provide (read your work backwards – you’ll spot those spelling errors and typos; read your peer’s work out loud to them, they’ll hear where the commas are missing), our students may not follow through on this final, crucial step.
And then, we’re stuck. Correcting or pointing out the errors is time-consuming, especially when what you want to assess is their command of content and depth of understanding. When the same errors crop up time and time again, it can feel futile and ineffective, too. If students are not going to make the corrections and learn from their mistakes, why spend the time? It’s a dilemma.
How can we help students recognize and correct writing errors so that their writing improves and we can spend our time on developing knowledge and understanding?
JoeZoo has two simple-to-apply solutions: one for students, one for teachers.
Teacher Monkey Checker
The Teacher Monkey Checker is the perfect companion to The Student Monkey Checker.
Just like the Student Monkey Checker, the Teacher version instantly scans the student document, colour-codes and categorizes each error, comments on each one by explaining the error and provides a tip for fixing it.
It saves the teacher from finding and commenting on writing errors and allows the teacher to track each student’s progress in reducing errors across classes and years. It also tracks whole class progress for each writing convention so the teacher knows where to focus future lessons. The teacher can feel confident that students are receiving the feedback they need to understand those pesky errors, as well as the support and encouragement to learn from and avoid them in the future.
Fully Customizable for Grade Levels and Subjects
Both Monkey Checkers are fully customizable so teachers of different grade levels or subjects can add or remove the error types they want detected. They run on documents of any length and there are no word limits.
The Student and Teacher Monkey Checkers are free feature when the school installs the JoeZoo app.