Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Worth Every Penny

Yesterday, I wrote about xtramath.org, a FREE online math program that increases students' math fact fluency. Today, I am switching gears entirely. I want to tell you about something I PAID for, for my language arts program last year. Interactive Learning: Daily Sentence Editing is a sentence editing CD and companion book that teaches students to edit for grammar, punctuation, and spelling on an interactive white board. I use the program in conjunction with dry erase slates as a daily writing warm-up in my classroom. The children LOVE to get called to the board to drag and drop the editing marks into place on the SMARTBoard after they've edited the daily sentence on their slates.

As soon as the sentence appears on the board I hear, "How many, Mrs. Schwab? How many mistakes in this one?" as the students busily copy the incorrect sentence on their slates. I tell the children how many errors they need to find, and they mark them with the correct proofreading marks. Someone is called to the board to demonstrate the necessary corrections, and we discuss rules and conventions. Next, everybody rewrites the sentence correctly. Some print. Others are ready to practice in cursive. (Remember this is a fifth grade inclusion class, and 10 of the children have diagnosed learning disabilities.) Next, we click a button to reveal the correct version of the sentence, so everyone can check their work. While I have everybody's attention, I extend the lesson a little further. I've incorporated parts of speech into this daily routine by having the students circle and underline nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc... on their slates before we erase the corrected sentence.

This is the sentence we are working on tomorrow. It's number 19. There are over 300 sentences on the CD, and they get incrementally more difficult as you move through the program. A function has also been added for the user to enter customized sentences of their own.

Last year, I stumbled upon Interactive Learning: Daily Sentence Editing when I was looking for something to fill the grammar and conventions void in our literacy program. I crossed my fingers and ordered it on a whim. Now that I've had a chance to use the CD with my students, I realize I made an excellent choice. You don't have to wonder. Trust me, when I tell you this is an excellent resource for anyone who wants  a motivating and engaging way to practice the rules of grammar and conventions. Click the link on this page if you'd like to have this tool for your fifth grade classroom.

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