On pages 61-73 of MI, Anderson shows how teachers can make an operator’s manual. This is designed by teachers for the teacher and provides background on an error or concept and information that a teacher may need when navigating these two things. First it defines what the error/concept is in plain English, then gives it other names, shows a student error, and then tries to look at it from the student’s point of view as to why they made the error. Then there is a section from a mentor text describing the correct way to use a concept, lessons, and then a visual scaffold to help enforce this concept.

An example is a fragment:

In plain English (from MI): A sentence must contain at least one subject and one verb, and it must form a complete thought.

AKA: Incomplete sentence, non-sentence, intentional fragment.

Student Error: When I was young. I liked frogs. Ready for more.

Behind the error: Student trying to add sophistication to sentences?

Mentor Text: John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men

They had walked in single file down the path, and even in the open one stayed behind the other. pg. 2

Lennie flapped his big hands helplessly. pg. 68

Lennie chuckled with pleasure. pg. 90

Lesson: Two-word sentence smack down

Everyone writes a sentence and tells why it is a sentence. Figure out who or what did or is something, and what did they do or what are they?

Visual Scaffold:

Have a sentence smack down where on a board or poster have students put in subjects and verbs to make a sentence.

This is a good way to find ways to identify errors and concepts and figure out easy ways to teach it.