Students in middle and high school learn to use Word’s Find/Replace feature to check written work, increase accuracy, and improve their grades.
editing, essays, Microsoft Word
Note: Prior to this lesson, students should have typed an assigned essay, term paper, or research paper into Microsoft Word.
Begin this lesson at the chalkboard, or at a computer whose screen is projected for the entire class to see. Display Microsoft Word on the screen and use it to record notes from the lesson.
Brainstorm with students common grammatical mistakes made when writing essays or research papers. Record their answers on the chalkboard or computer. Responses might include:
Type the following sentence on your computer in Word (or write it on the chalkboard):
The hero wasn't ready to admit that his lack of courage had cost him dearly, so he journeyed onward toward the city.
Invite students to identify the contraction in the sentence. Click, or have students click, Edit>Replace. In the "Find What:" blank, type "n't". In the "Replace With:" blank, type "not". (Be sure to type a space BEFORE the word not). Click Find Next, then Replace as Word highlights the contraction and replaces it.
Ask students to name grammatical errors they make frequently that can be identified and corrected with the Find/Replace feature. Those might include:
Encourage each student to make a list of 5-10 common errors he or she might look for in upcoming papers. (You might want to review each student's list and add any errors you know that a particular student struggles with.) Point out to students that in a 5-10 page paper, using the Find/Replace feature can save quite a bit of time, improve their paper's accuracy -- and possibly improve their final grade as well.
Finally, if students seem to understand the strategy and are ready for one more timesaving suggestion, point out that they also can use the Find/Replace feature as a kind of shorthand. Explain to students that, as they type, they can use an abbreviation for frequently-used words or phrases, and then -- at the final proofreading stage - find the abbreviation and replace it with the correct word or phrase.
AssessmentAlthough students are not directly evaluated on this lesson, their final grade on future essays should improve if they use this strategy.
Lesson Plan Source