Handling Spelling and Grammar Pet Peeves in the Classroom

pet peeves

I started something new this last school year to try to keep my students’ spelling and grammar mistakes to a minimum.  Not so much typos, but straight up mistakes such as writing bear instead of bare.  I started by including the list of my biggest pet peeves at the bottom of the syllabus and throughout the course of the first week of school I took every opportunity to teach my students the correct usage of each word/phrase.  I was pretty surprised at how positively the students responded to it and it is something I will absolutely do again.

One way I think I hooked them in was by, at the end of the week, having them create memes with a partner illustrating the wrong usage and the correct usage.  They LOVED it!   I also made sure that when they had large writing assignments that I sat with each of them during the editing and proofreading process (it took almost two days but it was worth it) to further clarify any confusions or mistakes that had been made.  Since that was done one-on-one, there was less pressure on the students to “look cool” in front of their peers and they seemed to absorb more of what I was teaching them.

Some of my biggest pet peeves are mixing up:
–it’s, its
–their, they’re, there
–too, to, two
–than, then
–affect, effect
–your, you’re
–should/could HAVE, not should/could OF

Now, do my assignments and tests and stuff sometimes have typos on them?  Of COURSE!  Mistakes happen, especially when I’m multi-tasking.  So I tell students that if they can find typos or mistakes that I missed while proofreading, they get 2 extra credit points for that assignment.  They always rise to that challenge too, and I see it as a learning experience for them.  Plus, since when do teenager not like an opportunity to correct their teacher?

Click HERE for a free sample of my back to school bundle for teachers which has a sample syllabus in it.

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