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Edit Essays with Word Tables



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts


  • 5-8
  • 9-12
  • Advanced

Brief Description

Students submit an essay in Word, identify grammar and spelling errors in the essay, and then correct those errors using Word’s table feature.


Students will:
  • identify grammatical and spelling errors.
  • correct errors using Word's table feature.


grammar, essays, language arts, editing, grading

Materials Needed

  • Access to Microsoft Word
  • The ability to send essays back and forth between student and teacher (e-mail, server, disk).
  • A projector or TV monitor to display a teacher's computer to the class. (optional)

Lesson Plan

Still grading essays, red ink pen in hand? Next time your students have an essay due, ask them to submit their work in Word, help them identify their grammar and spelling errors, and then have them correct those errors using Word's table feature.

Prior to this lesson, student should be familiar with typing in Word and knowledgeable about the basics of grammar and writing.

Begin the lesson by displaying the sentence below either on a projector or a chalkboard: (Note: Choose any sentence that's appropriate to your students' grade and ability level.)

Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, the car seemed to run better.

Ask students to identify the error in the sentence. The answer: a dangling modifier. Ask next for a corrected version of the sentence. Among the possible correct answers is:

Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, we kept the car in excellent condition.

Explain to students that they also can use the table feature in Word to identify and correct their errors. Guide students through the following steps:

  • Open Word.
  • Type the following sentence: This next chapter has a lot of difficult information in it, you should start studying right away. (Note: Choose any sentence that's appropriate to your students' grade and ability level.)
  • Use Word's highlighter feature to highlight the error in the sentence -- the comma between "it" and "you."
    Note: to find the highlighter feature, click View>Toolbars>Formatting and look for the icon with the ABC on it.
  • Click Table>Insert>Table and select three columns and one row. Click OK.
  • In the left cell, type the error: "," (without the quotation marks).
  • In the middle cell, type what's wrong: "run-on sentence".
  • In the right cell, type a corrected version of that sentence.

Student's work now should look like this:

Explain to students that as you grade the next group of essays, you'll use Word to highlight their errors in yellow. Students then will get their essays back, and will be responsible for adding a Word table within their essays, just below the error. Students then will resend the essays to you for a final check.

Note: The above examples are from the Capital Community College Foundation's Guide to Grammar and Writing, an excellent resource for teaching grammar in high school and above.


Students are assessed on their ability to identify and correct grammatical errors.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lorrie Jackson

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills