Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Strategy: Morning Message

Here's a little metacognition from Jack Woodson at Learn Me Good, who shares year-end "Five Ways To Improve My Class." The most interesting for our purposes here is #4:
Do the "Morning Message" more frequently
This was my first year (7 months, actually) of teaching language arts. So it took me a while to get my feet under me and find out what I was doing. OK, who am I kidding, I'm STILL trying to find out what I should be doing! But one of the things I would do about once a week or once every 2 weeks was the Morning Message. This was a short passage -- 2 or 3 sentences -- filled with grammatical and punctuational mistakes. The kids had to copy it down exactly as it appeared on the board and then make the necessary corrections. It was a fun exercise, it helped the kids recognize mistakes, and it showed them part of the editing process. Next year, maybe I'll up it to 2 or 3 times a week.
Sounds like a pretty good idea to me. We want our students to be able to recognize and correct their own mistakes. Peer editing and review teacher corrections are useful toward this end, but doing a bit of guided practice can't hurt.

(Photo from Flickr user, Nic's Events. "Editing a Paper- 19")


  1. I actually remember doing this in second grade. I wish it would have been done in later grades. There are still concepts in style guides that I have to look up. I just need more practice!

  2. Thanks for the comment, nae4blue! I think everybody needs more practice. These days, if a person's computer doesn't tell them it's wrong, they don't correct it. I was a TA for a Freshman politics class and some of the errors I saw in papers astounded me.

  3. I used to do this, using writing from former students (no names, of course). My students identified with the text and began to realize the many different ways a piece could be changed to make more sense.