How To

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.

TIPS
(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. 

 

DIFFERENTIATION
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

Using the Debate/Essay Kit to Practice Argument Writing

Scope debates are a fantastic way for students to practice evaluating an argument, identifying supporting evidence, and writing a well-crafted argument essay. Students complete a text-marking activity, engage in a spirited debate, then use our Essay Kit to write their own argument essay.

 

Here’s our guide to using any Scope Debate/Essay Kit in your classroom.

 

What you’ll need:

Key skills:
identifying central ideas and details, speaking and listening, argument-essay writing 

Time:
two 50-minute class periods

 

1. Prepare to Read

  • Project the list of vocabulary words and definitions for students to refer to as they read. The practice activity can be completed after reading or it can be assigned as homework.
  • Give students a few minutes to preview the text features in the article—the headline, illustrations, cartoons, or photos, any charts or graphs, etc. Ask students what they think the article is going to be about.

 

 

2. Read and Text-Mark

  • Project the article. Read the article once through as a class.

A) Complete the following as a class, modeling text marking on your whiteboard while students mark their magazines: Using a red colored pencil, underline details that support the "Yes" side of the debate.


 

B) Divide students into groups and have them use a blue colored pencil to underline the details that support the "No" side of the debate.

 

3. Discuss the Author's Bias

  • Ask students to discuss the following in their groups: Do you think the writer shows bias—that is, a preference for one side of the debate or the other? Explain and support your answer with text evidence.

 

4. Choose the Strongest Details

  • Have students fill in the “Yes/No” chart in their magazines using the three strongest details that they underlined in the text for each side of the debate.

 

 

5. Hold the Debate

  • Have students divide themselves into two groups according to which side of the debate they agree with more. Have the groups stand on opposite sides of the room. Students can then debate the issue: One student offers a reason (support) for his or her opinion; a student from the other group then offers a counterargument.
  • Students may walk to the other side of the room if at any point during the debate they change their position on the issue. (Be sure to ask any student who does this why he or she did so.)
  • Encourage students to use text evidence to support their opinions.

 

6. Prepare to Write

  • Have students work individually to complete the Write an Argument Essay activity sheet and write their essays. (Optional: Have students research the topic further and include at least one additional source in their essays.)  
  • Students should revise their essay using the Argument-Essay Checklist and the Great Transitions handout.

 

 

Download a PDF of this lesson plan here

Debate/Scavenger Hunt: A Guide to Argument Writing

Scope's Debate/Scavenger Hunt provides a fun and engaging way for students to read and evaluate two texts with opposing points of view. Students will practice analyzing two sides of an argument, complete a text-marking activity, participate in a lively classroom debate, and then use our Essay Kit to write their own argument essays.

 

Use the following as a model for how to use any Scope Debate/Scavenger Hunt in your classroom.

 

What you’ll need:

 

Learning objectives:
to read and evaluate two argument essays, to develop a working vocabulary for discussing arguments, to participate in a class debate, to write an argument essay

Key skills:
analyzing and comparing arguments, identifying central ideas and supporting details, tone, editing, revision

Time:
two class periods

 

 

1. Prepare to Read
Give students a few minutes to preview the text features in the article: the headlines and illustrations or photos. Ask students what they think the article is going to be about.

 

 

2. Read and Text Mark

  • Read both texts once through as a class.
  • Ask: “No matter what you personally think about this issue, which author do you think makes the better argument?” Take a poll and tally the results on the board.
  • Project the first text. Complete the Scavenger Hunt, modeling text marking on your whiteboard while students mark their magazines. Or, print and distribute the Scavenger Hunt: Analyzing Arguments activity to help students develop their arguments.
  • Have students complete the Scavenger Hunt for the second text in small groups.

 

 

3. Discuss
As a class, discuss the question at the end of the Scavenger Hunt: Who makes the stronger argument? Then ask:

  1. What do the authors agree about? What do they disagree about?
  2. How do the images support each author’s argument?
  3. What is each author’s tone? Explain your answer.

 

4. Debate

  • Divide students into groups according to which author they think makes the best argument. Have the groups stand on opposite sides of the room.
  • Students should then debate: One student offers a reason (support) for his or her opinion; a student from the other group responds.
  • Students should quietly switch sides if at any point during the debate they change their minds; be sure to ask any student who does this why he or she did so.
  • At the end of the debate, compare the number of students who support each author with the number who supported each author before the debate.

 

5. Write

 

 

Differentiation

For struggling readers: Ask students to write one paragraph in which they state which of the two authors they agree with more and why.

For advanced readers: Have students find another text whose author argues either for or against the issue at hand. Have students compare that text with the one in Scope. Which author does a better job of supporting his or her argument? Why?

 

Download a PDF of this lesson plan here

 

Introducing the New Short Read: Great for test readiness!

Some of the best features in Scope began with input from YOU. And over the past few months, many of you have written to us asking for a short nonfiction text that can be completed in one period. So that is exactly what we've created: the Short Read!

 

The Short Read, which makes its debut in the October issue, is a short informational text that can be done in just one period. And it's perfect for practicing constructed-response questions.

Here is how we recommend you use it:

  1. Preview the vocabulary.
  2. Read the article as a class.
  3. Have students work in small groups to complete the activity at the end of the article. They will write a claim, find a piece of text evidence, and explain why that evidence supports their claim.
  4. If you want to go deeper, project the reference handout and review as a class. Then have students work on their own or in groups to complete the self-guided writing activity, which guides students through the process of answering a constructed-response question.
  5. Have students use their completed activities to craft their own constructed responses.

 

PLUS! Each short read comes with a quiz on two levels as well as audio recordings of the article and the vocabulary words and definitions.

TIP: Use the Short Read as a "Do Now" bell-ringer activity.

 

Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Infographics: Quick, Easy, and Totally Delightful

Infographics are an important tool for presenting facts, figures, and concepts. Kids encounter these “visual texts” in books and magazines, online, on tests—and on the back page of Scope, of course!
 

Here is our guide for how to use any Scope infographic. 

 

What you’ll need:

Key skills:
summarizing, interpreting visual text, central ideas and details, argument writing

Time: one class period

 

1. Prepare to Read 
Give students one minute to preview the infographic. Then ask: What is the topic of this infographic? 


 

2. Read the Infographic 
Divide students into groups to read and study the infographic. Each group should then discuss what they find interesting or surprising. 

 

3. Prepare to Write

  • Reconvene as a class. Have a volunteer read aloud the writing prompt at the bottom of the page. Brainstorm examples of central ideas (or central claims) that could be used. 
  • Distribute the guided writing activity sheet, Turning an Infographic Into an Essay. Have students work individually or in small groups to complete the activity up to the point where they write their first draft.

 

 

4. Model the Text
Optional: If your students need additional support, project the annotated model text and review together.

 

5. Write
Students should follow the guidelines on the activity sheet to write and edit their essays. 

6. Enter the Contest
Have students submit their essays to our contest. You can find contest entry forms, instructions on how to submit, contest rules, and more on the Scope Contest Page. Winning students will receive a $25 Visa gift card and their entries will be published online.

 

Download a PDF of this lesson plan here