The Lazy Editor: Grammar and Revision Made Easy

The Lazy Editor is a short and fascinating nonfiction text filled with grammar and writing mistakes for your students to find and fix. From subject-verb disagreement and pronoun problems to repetitive sentence structure, the errors in the Lazy Editor are carefully calibrated to the middle-school writer.


Here is an easy-to-use guide you can use with any Lazy Editor article. 
What you’ll need:

  • A Lazy Editor article, like this one (three levels available, for differentiation)
  • Activity sheets for practice with each skill covered in the Lazy Editor, like these
  • Answer key 

Key skills:
editing, revising, understanding conventions of standard English when writing, making effective choices for meaning and style

Time: 2 class periods 


1. Reviewing Grammar and Writing Concepts

  • Have students work in groups to complete one or all of the activity sheets that support the skills covered in the Lazy Editor article you’ve selected. You might have students complete the activity for a particular grammar skill that you know they struggle with, or you might have them complete all three activity sheets.
  • ALTERNATIVE IDEA: If students are already familiar with the concepts covered in the Lazy Editor, save the activity sheets for the end. Do the Lazy Editor first and assign the activity sheets on an as-needed basis for students to brush up on skills in areas where they showed weakness.



2. Preparing to Read
Have students read the headline, the directions, the captions, and the Find It/Fix It box.


3. Reading the Lazy Editor  
Read the article once through as a class. Let students know that for now, they don’t need to worry about finding the mistakes—they should just pay attention to what the article says. 


4. Doing the Activity  
Divide students into small groups and have them follow the directions in the Find It/Fix It box. Let students know they must all agree on their edits, discussing anything they disagree about until they reach a consensus.

(1) Some errors have multiple possible solutions (adding variety in sentence structure to a paragraph, for example). Students should work as a group to come up with an edit that everyone supports.
(2) Students may write many of their edits directly in their magazines, crossing out the errors and writing the corrections above. Some edits, however, will be easier to make if students write on a separate sheet of paper. 


5. Assessing and Reinforcing 

  • Reconvene as a class to go over the edits. (Answers can be found in the Scope answer key.)
  • Invite students to explain their edits. 
  • If students are struggling with a particular skill, project the activity sheet for that skill and go over the grammar rules or writing guidelines that appear at the beginning of the activity. 
  • If students have not yet completed the activity sheets, assign them for homework as needed. 


For struggling readers
Go to Scope Online to find the lower-level (Level 1) version of the Lazy Editor, which features only one type of error throughout the article, and the activity sheet that supports it. Begin by completing the activity sheet as a class. Then project the Lazy Editor and work through it together. 

For advanced readers 
Go to Scope Online to find the higher-level (Level 3) version of the Lazy Editor, which includes more challenging errors than the version in the printed magazine. Have students complete the Lazy Editor individually, then work with partners to check each other’s work. Use the activity sheets on an as-needed basis. 


Download a PDF of this lesson plan here

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