Today's zinger: I overheard two of my girls talking today about the "chicken feet" in their essays. When I asked what they were talking about, they both threw up their hands and showed me air quotes.
Chicken feet=quotation marks!
Today's tip: Try blogging as a way to force proofreading. Grade these "journal" entries purely on mechanical correctness. When students realize that their entries are live online for all the world to see, they are much more careful.
Today's resource: WallWisher.com is great way get input from students anonymously. They can discuss literature, manipulate vocabulary, throw out theories they would never risk sharing. It's free, and kids enjoy it.