Here is something fun to try this year: have your students find the teacher’s mistake! Let your (upper elementary or middle school) students know that sometimes you will intentionally make a spelling or grammar mistake on a handout or worksheet. It is their job to find that mistake. They will never know if there is a mistake on any given worksheet – it could come at any time, in any subject, so they must check each one carefully. Of course, a little extra motivation for finding these errors is sure to help. Consider:
Giving extra bonus points on the assignment for finding the mistake
Giving a few minutes of extra recess if more than 2/3rds of the class find the mistake
Letting students who find the mistake put their names in for a raffle to win a small prize
Keeping a running tally for each student, and when a student reaches a particular threshold, he or she gets a small prize (and then starts again at 0)
Not only will this keep your students on their toes and give them excellent proofreading practice, but it will also be a great cover for you if you accidentally make an error!