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Editor Travels U.S. Fixing Errors
On Signs



Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts

Educational Technology

Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

Jeff Deck is traveling the U.S. correcting spelling and punctuation errors that he spots on signs.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, write the word editor on a board or chart. You might read a dictionary definition of the word. Then, ask students to identify the things an editor does. Write student responses on a board or sheet of chart paper so you can refer to them again after reading this weeks news story.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: misspelled, editor, stationery, punctuation, typo, and apostrophe. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • For Mothers Day, my sister bought my mother a box of _____ with her name printed on each sheet. (stationery)
  • _____ is a shortened version of the words typographical error." (Typo)
  • The directions on the language activity asked students to find ten _____ words in the paragraph. (misspelled)
  • In contractions, an _____ indicates the place where letters have been dropped from the two words that make up the contraction. (apostrophe)
  • The newspaper _____ decided to print the story even though it might upset the mayor. (editor)
  • Commas, question marks, and exclamation points are all marks of _____. (punctuation)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Editor Travels U.S. Fixing Errors on Signs.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

    In the Find the Mistakes" section of the students news page, the three errors are 1) a missing apostrophe on the word Owners, 2) a misspelling of the word Strawberries," and 3) a misspelling of the word Accepting."
  • Jeff Deck, a 28-year-old graduate of Dartmouth College, is traveling America in search of signs in public places that have on them errors of spelling, grammar, or punctuation. I've always been aware of typos wherever I go," Deck told ABC News. I figured that it was a national problem."
  • Among the sign errors he has corrected: One sign promoted dye cast" [instead of diecast] metal key chains. One coffee shop offered a Sweedish" [Swedish] berry drink. A company looking for workers advertised Now Acepting [Accepting] Applications." And a restaurant even misspelled Restaraunt."
  • Deck wears a brown fedora, which has caused some to refer to him as the Indiana Jones of typos." Other news headlines have referred to him as a Road Scholar."
  • When Deck attended his fifth college reunion, he learned that many of his college classmates had become doctors or lawyers. They were making a difference in peoples lives. So Deck, a creative writing major in college, decided that correcting signs was a way he could make a difference in peoples lives.
  • Decks Web site, The Typo Eradication Advancement League, documents his travels. The site declares that The Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL) is dedicated to a more perfectly spelling union." Visitors to the site can click buttons on a U.S. map to read Decks blog from that location and see before-and-after pictures of many of the signs he has corrected.
  • Friends have joined Deck, to keep him company, along many parts of his journey across America.
  • When he was in sixth grade, Deck placed third in the class spelling bee. With new resolve, he won the school-wide bees in seventh and eighth grades; but he slipped up in the district bee each of those years. So Deck recognizes that it is natural for mistakes to occur; everybody will slip now and again, he says. But slowly the once-unassailable foundations of spelling are crumbling, and the time has come for the crisis to be addressed," he writes on the TEAL Web site. We believe that only through working together with vigilance and a love of correctness can we achieve the beauty of a typo-free society."

    Comprehension Check

    Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; invite students to add to the list of an editors tasks that they created before they read the article.

    You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:

    Recalling Detail

  • Why did Jeff Deck decide to take a trip across America? (Accept students reasoned responses, e.g., he wanted to make the world a better place by correcting errors on signs.)
  • How far has Deck traveled on his journey? (more than 5,000 miles)
  • What tools does Deck carry with him as he travels? (He carries markers, crayons, and Wite-Out.)
  • What kinds of mistakes does Deck often find? (He finds missing or misplaced apostrophes, misspelled words)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Language arts. Choose one of Education Worlds printable Every-Day Edit activities to share with students. Can they identify all ten errors of capitalization, punctuation, spelling, or grammar in the Edit activity?

    Language shortened words. The word typo is short for typographical error. Ask students why they think short words, such as typo, creep into our speaking and writing. Then provide the following list of words and have students tell or write the longer word from which each word has been shortened:
    plane (airplane)
    photo (photograph)
    fax (facsimile)
    flu (influenza)
    fridge (refrigerator)
    burger (hamburger)
    bike (bicycle)
    math (mathematics)
    auto (automobile, automatic)
    Then have students identify the short version of each of these longer words:
    examination (exam)
    advertisement (ad)
    zoological garden (zoo)
    gymnasium (gym)
    newspaper (paper)
    gasoline (gas)
    limousine (limo)
    laboratory (lab)

    Geography - read a map. Share with students each pair of cities below. Then have students refer to the map on Jeff Decks Web page and circle the city in each pair that Deck visited first. In the list below, the city in bold type is the one he visited first.

    Charlestown, South Carolina Metter, Georgia
    Somerville, Massachusetts Hoboken, New Jersey
    Flagstaff, Arizona Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Bloomington, Minnesota Madison, Wisconsin
    Bloomington, Indiana Chicago, Illinois
    Williamston, North Carolina Morehead City, North Carolina
    New Orleans, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana
    Billings, Montana Missoula, Montana


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
    NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen

    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms

    GRADES K - 12
    NT.K-12.3 Technology Productivity Tools
    NT.K-12.4 Technology Communications Tools

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2008 Education World