(It's been a while since I've had a good continuation high school story. For some strange reason, I stopped getting calls to go there. I don't know why. I kind of missed them. I'm glad I got a chance to go back.)
I think the directions for the paper say it all: Find the errors in the following sentences that occurred in the rough drafts for your last essay. (Sadly, peer editors did not find the errors.) What followed were the kinds of sentences I see students writing all the time.
There were a couple students on task, though. And they had questions.
I could see a couple ways to edit some of the sentences, so I basically led the students towards the way they wanted to fix them. Asking questions. Hinting. The students who were working told me that some of the sentences were "messed up". What idiot wrote those sentences?
I pointed out the directions (which they had not read), and commented that these were from essays that they had turned in.
"One of your sentences might be in there."
The boy I was working with scanned the rest of the page and found a sentence from his essay:
I live in Salonia Greece, in my city there is over 60,000 Jews.(Note: The students went to The Museum of Tolerance and their essays were about the person they picked as they went through. This should give you an idea of the kinds of sentences that they were writing.)
The boy was kind of horrified to learn that this was wrong. He needed a bit of help in fixing it, but then he wondered if it made it into his final draft (all the final drafts were posted on the wall) as it was.
But still, they managed to laugh at some of the sentences. Some of the grammar mistakes made some of the sentences almost unreadable. We had a tough time deciphering some of them.
Rather a brilliant assignment, I thought. Using the students' own mistakes to teach them. Wow. Great idea. If only more of them had attempted it.