Saturday, November 1, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturdays: Error Analysis

I am a little late today linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching, but it was one of those days.

Error analysis is a great way to let see what your students actually understand about what they are learning.  It forces them to explain what is wrong and how to make it right.   And you might be wondering how error analysis can be motivating, but I am going to share my secret for it.  When I write error analysis assignments, I make myself or my dogs the mistake makers.  I don't have any children of my own, so I talk about my dogs a lot in the classroom when I am trying to help them understand a concept or "see" something.  For example, last week the word "banshee" came up in a novel we are reading and ones of the kids made the connection that it makes a noise like my littlest dog when she is angry--which is sadly true.  (I had played them a recording of it as a reward one day--kids are so funny as you wouldn't believe how hard they worked in order to hear a screaming dog.)

For some reason, the interest level, and the quality of the work, is much higher whenever my dog or I make the mistakes.  I have tried it with a random name, but whenever I personalize it, the results are always better.    Here is a recent assignment on nonrestrictive elements in sentences.  Can you believe how sweet the responses are?!?!

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