As our students become better writers, it is important that we ingrain in them a skill for editing and revising their work. One easy way I have found to help students get in the habit of editing is by having them do mix and fix sentences. With a mix and fix, students will have to do simply that- they will have to mix up and/or fix up a sentence (or sentences). Of course, students in kindergarten really love finding errors in things! With this simple exercise, that can be completed in ten minutes or less (throughout the year). Although this Mix and Fix activity is usually done during my morning work time, students really get in the habit of editing things which will, in turn, challenge them and make their writing process more rigorous as the year goes by!
I teach this lesson about two weeks into the school year. I like to have students complete a mix and fix almost daily as morning work. As the year goes on, I can change this task and even differentiate it. But, at the beginning, I like to set the purpose for this lesson and show students my expectations for this perfect editing skill building activity!
I will introduce this lesson in the whole group, with all of the students seated in front of me.
"Today, we are going to learn about something fun! We are going to learn about what I call Mix and Fix Sentences." (wait time) "A Mix and Fix is just that... we will need to mix it... then fix it!..... Doesn't that sound like fun?" (wait time- Students should nod their heads or respond, yes.)
"Every day, when you come in for the morning, you will have a Mix and Fix page at your seat. Your job is to mix it... then fix it." (wait time) "I am going to show you what I mean."
I will take out a mix and fix page, along with scissors, glue, a pencil and crayons.
"Do you see that there are directions on the left side of the page?" (wait time, while pointing) "Let's read the directions together." (wait time) "First, we read it. Then, we glue it. Next, we write it, finally, we illustrate it." (wait time) "There are four steps... read... glue... write... illustrate." (wait time) "If there are four steps, how many things will I have to do in order to complete this Mix and Fix before showing it to the teacher?" (Students should say four.)
"Yes, you will need to do four things with this Mix and Fix. As long as you follow the directions on the left, you will be just fine! Let me show you how to do this."
I will be working on my Mix and Fix page as I explain it to my students.
"First, it says I need to read my sentence. So, I am going to read it. I am going to practice reading my sight words and sounding out the other words as best as I can. I will definitely need to re-read the sentence to make sure that I really know what it says."
"This sentence says... Can... you... see... my... red... hat?"
"Let me re-read it to make sure I know what it says... Can you see my red hat?"
"Now that I have read it, I can glue it. I am supposed to glue the words in order. I remember that my first word was can... so, I need to cut out can and glue it in the first box here." (I will do this while pointing.) "Now, my next word was you, so I will cut out you and glue it in the box right after can... then I had see... so I will cut and glue that... hmmm... after that I had my... so I need to cut out my and glue it in the following box... and now I will glue hat and the question mark... that will go in the last box." (wait time) "Now that I have glued my words in order, I need to re-read them, too. I want to make sure that they make sense and line up with the sentence above."
"It says, Can you see my red hat?... hmmm that is what the sentence originally said, so I must've ordered my words correctly! That's great, I have done that part right! That means I can move on." (wait time) "The next part is to write it... So, I am going to have to write my sentence. I will now write, slowly and with my best handwriting, Can you see my red hat?" (wait time) "I need to now re-read my writing and also make sure I have the correct punctuation. So, let me look at it... hmmm... it looks good! Wow! Now, I am at my last step! I can illustrate my work. I just need to know what to illustrate... hmmm..." (wait time) "Does anyone have any idea of what I should draw?" (wait time) "I thought about drawing some ice cream... but... that's not on my paper... maybe I should illustrate what is on my paper.... who agrees?" (Students will nod or say yes.) "Since my paper says, can you see my red hat, I am going to draw me, with a red hat... and I might even draw someone else looking at it since I am asking if someone can see it!"
"Now, I have read it. I have glued it. I have written it. I have illustrated it. Also, I have checked myself on each step! I am done and now I can take it to the teacher!"
Here is the example mix and fix that I can use in the whole group setting to show them my expectations, as well as the process they are to follow!
"Do you see now what you will need to do?" (Students should nod or say yes.) "You will get to practice reading, sounding out, ordering words, writing and illustrating in response."
For the beginning of the year practice, September through November (maybe December, depending on the class), I like to keep the Mix and Fix process really similar to the one shown in the example. I like to have some main sight words and easily decodable words in a singular sentence form.
I like to stick with this more simplistic format for a few months because it allows students to become familiar with the process while it also gets them used to systematically sounding out words in order. Also, it allows students to have an extra set of exposures to their first sets of sight words!
Here are some examples of easy beginning of the year Mix and Fix sentences:
I can see you!
Can you see me?
I have one dog.
Can you see the cat?
I like to run.
We can go and run!
Here is an example of a beginning of the year mix and fix that we actually used! This is a form I like to edit and change-- I can even adapt it to current sight words or word families!
And here is
For the middle of the year practice, December through February, I like to expand on the Mix and Fix process that is shown in the example.
I still like to have familiar sight words and decodable words, but I also like to add a little extra rigor! First of all, I like to have students mix and fix two sentences sometimes. Also, I like to add in more commas, question marks and proper nouns. When I give students these types of Mix and Fix pages, they are still getting more exposure to the words they need, but they are also really working on building their grammatical conventions!
Here are some examples of easy beginning of the year Mix and Fix sentences:
I can see you here and I can see you there, too.
Can you see my dog? He is here!
Can you see the cat? She is pretty!
I like to run outside. We can go and run!
Should we run together, or do you want to walk?
I like to take my mom to McDonalds.
Can you do with me to see Piper at the mall?
My favorite holiday is Christmas. It is so much fun!
For the end of the year practice, March through May, I like to REALLY expand on the Mix and Fix process that is shown in the example.
I still like to have familiar sight words and decodable words, but I really like to kick up the rigor at this point in the year. Since students have had a lot of practice with this skill by now, I really like giving them challenges here!
Basically, I keep the two sentence format with different punctuation, commas and proper nouns, but I leave some of those things off! Students will have to really look at and re-read their sentences to fix them and correct them appropriately. I like making students really look at their sentences and figure out WHAT is wrong; that means they have to know how something is wrong! This is really some higher order thinking!
For the end of the year, I like to take the same Mix and Fix sentences that we have already done in the middle of the year and just take the correct pieces out of them so students will have to make changes. Here are some examples of really challenging end of the year Mix and Fix sentences. (shown how I would originally write them AND how students would correct them):
i can see you here? And I can c you there too. ---> I can see you here and I can see you there, too.
can u see My dog he is Here? ---> Can you see my dog? He is here!
caN yu C thu Catshe is Pretty ---> Can you see the cat? She is pretty!
i Like 2 run out side? wii can Gu end run --->I like to run outside. We can go and run!
The way that I assess this is that I look for complete correctness. When students bring me a Mix and Fix paper, I can usually quickly check it. If there are mistakes, I tell students to re-check. If students come to me twice with mistakes, I ask them to check with a friend who is already done. I check these daily because it allows me to look for patterns with sight words being missed, handwriting errors, letter reversals, inconsistencies with illustrations, etc. Also, it is always good to send something checked home! I love to write notes on the back when needed as well- encouragement, redirection or study suggestions!
I take this Mix and Fix idea and integrate it with my Modified Morning Message time! I like to extend students' independent practices into our whole group practices because it only strenghtnes their skills while also encouraging them that their independent learning is done for a bigger and better reason!
The BEST WAY to integrate this Mix and Fix idea is to always encourage students to re-read and revise their work! This Mix and Fix practice really helps to make editing and revising written work a second nature; we need to ensure that students remember this and practice this every time they write!