Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Getting Your Students Started

Dawn Capes
Bay District Schools


On alternating days, students will begin class by either doing sentences for editing OR a gratitude journal. This is designed so students have a quiet activity which starts immediately at the beginning of class. The teacher is now free to take roll, etc.


The student organizes information before writing according to the type and purpose of writing.

The student selects and uses appropriate formats for writing, including narrative, persuasive, and expository formats, according to the intended audience, purpose, and occasion.

The student understands that there are patterns and rules in semantic structure, symbols, sounds, and meanings conveyed through the English language.


-Teachers can either create their own sentences for editing or use materials published by companies such as the Daily Language SkillBuilder. 1997. McDougal Littel
-Copy of editing marks
-Optional: AV computer or overhead
-Optional: Chart paper and markers


1. Create or obtain sentences for editing.
2. Establish a place for the sentences to be posted every day.
3. Copy editing (proofreader) marks for students or find these in a student text for them to reference.
4. Write (optional: type) sentences for editing on appropriate days.


1. Introduction to sentence editing. The teacher should have the sentences to be edited written on the board before the students enter the room. Students write the sentences incorrectly and then use editing marks to correct the sentences. The teacher has two volunteers correct one sentence each on the board. The teacher reviews the corrections and rules of grammar used in the sentences. This should take about 5 -7 minutes. It is best to have students keep the sentences until the end of the week and then turn them in at once.
(Optional: Sentences can be typed on a computer and displayed on a large screen TV. Volunteer students can make corrections on the computer. Another alternative is to use an overhead.)

2. Assessment of the edited sentences. The teacher uses similar sentences and corrections from the week's lessons on a quiz or test. Students will be tested on the correctness of the sentences.

3. Introduction to the Gratitude Journal. The teacher introduces this topic by talking about being thankful for the little things in life and the things we never think about. The class may want to create a group list of things to be thankful for and then post this list in the room. Once students have a basic list to choose from, explain to them that they will write a gratitude journal on the days when the sentences to be edited are not being used. In the gratitude journal the student mentions the item (s)he is thankful for and then explains why (s)he is thankful for it. Students should be given about 4-5 minutes to work on this. These gratitude journals will also be kept until the end of the week and then turned in all at one time.
NOTE: I have found that students appreciate and enjoy when the teacher participates and shares his/her own gratitude entries.

4. Assessment of the Gratitude Journals. These journals should be assessed for completeness of thought, details, and grammar/spelling.

5. Extension of the edited sentences. If more practice is desired or if a particular problem is giving students difficulty, the teacher can use worksheets and mini-lessons in order to clarify the grammatical problem.

6. Extension of the Gratitude Journal. The teacher may want students to keep their gratitude journals throughout the course of the year. At the end of the year, the teacher may have students create an essay in which they reflect on one item they are thankful for and explain in greater detail why they are thankful for it.


Formatively assess edited sentences according to completeness and correctness. Assess Gratitude Journals according to completeness, details, organization, and grammatical correctness.


Different sentences can be used based upon grade level of students.
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