Learning your own mistakes

This lesson is devised by Rachel Sneyd. Rachel is currently completing an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Trinity College Dublin. She is a keen writer and has just submitted her first teen-fiction novel for publication. This lesson is one of two parts that Rachel won the recent Homework Club innovative teaching competition with.
The importance of checking over your work
Preparation: None
This is a really quick 5 minute exercise which applies to all levels and subjects where writing is important.
Give everyone in the class a sheet of paper and tell them that they have 3 minutes to write as much as they can about what they did yesterday.
Time the 3 minutes and let them know as every thirty seconds passes. The idea is to get them writing under pressure and mimic an exam situation.
When the time is up give everyone a red pen (or another colour of their choice – I wear red glasses so I hate red pens!). Tell them to correct their own work.
Results: Hopefully they will be able to identify their own mistakes such as forgotten commas, missing words, silly spellings etc. They may also notice that their sentences are too long or their work is hard to read without paragraphs. This exercise shows them the mistakes they commonly make and hopefully it will help them remember to look over their work at the end of an exam.
Note from Naoisé: The point of this task is to show students that they can always find a certain percentage of their own mistakes. This is a very simple way of increasing their marks and can mean the difference in a grade sometimes! We do have  more time in exams than we think..
For Dyslexic students from as early as 6 we have noticed some interesting results – we all learn our common mistakes when they are shown to us. We miss capitals, we miss full stops, commas. I for example always reverse for to fro and the spell checker never finds this, by knowing this I now look for them! I reverse r’s and f’s in general, a useful thing for me to know! So our dyslexic students now know what their common errors are and look to fix them, it becomes instinctive after a while.