Make your own free website on

How to Use Gotchas


Submitted by: Avis Breding

Some may do it a bit differently but here is how I do our Got Chas.

1) On their paper they box the word; we look up the meanings and talk about it; we identify the part of speech (Project Success) and I put it up on colored Linkers to match the part of speech... nouns=red etc... We talk about them during the week and use them in sentences. We also enter them in our Spelling Dictionaries... with the definitions, and test on the 4-5 words each week. If you think they are too difficult... use a thesaurus and go down a level or two. According to Carbo the reading and words should be above their level in order for them to improve. (I've read that before!)

Instead of the blackboard I copy and paste the incorrect sentences in my word processor. Then enlarge the font to about 14-16 then make a transparency and project one sentence each day on the board. According to the original authoress, you walk around and if you see one they have not corrected during the display time, you say *Caught Ya/Got Cha and show and tell them why it should be changed. Even the errors you help them correct... are not counted wrong.

I have my class come up and make the corrections and they have to tell why they are making the correction. Then you collect them on Friday, choose one or two sentences on each students page to spot check. So today I will choose sentence 3 as my spot check question.

If they have all errors corrected.. they have 100%. If they forgot one... they have 90%. She dropped 10% on each error uncorrected. I think I will do 5% on punctuation... and 10 on spelling and usage.

we also use the same words for syllabification study and accents. I figure that one word a day is good for them and stretching the brain cells!! Those who love spelling books can push ahead on those, and those who don't can lax up a bit. Still putting the tests on tapes... and that is going well!


Submitted by: Linda

I put up a gotcha sentence on Mon. and Wed. It is on an overhead transparency. The vocabulary word is typed larger and in bold. I select a word wizard who looks up the word in a dictionary. The kids are given five min. to fix the sentence AND write why they made the corrections they did. Then we correct it on the overhead.

Then I put up a blank transparency, and the Word Wizard tells us the part of speech, definition (which I write down and the kids write down). Then someone gives an example sentence using the word. This is written down as well. Finally, the students are asked to go home and use that word in conversation with a family member or friend and write down how they used it.

They like going home and using a brand-new word!

I only do it two days a week because Tues and Thursday are reading days and I don't want to waste a moment. Fridays are used for spelling tests, vocabulary reviews, writing, etc... Also, I tend to get bored with doing DOL's everyday and I don't want to do that... or I will stop doing them!

Submitted by: Luann Wieland


I have the students look the words up in a dictionary. We discuss meanings together and try to use the word throughout the day and week.

A question was asked about vocabulary: Some of the words I know my kids would not know - what do you do with the new vocabulary?

I use this as morning work. When the students enter the room they put their lunch clip up, fill water bottles and do the sentences from the overhead. After 10-15 min. we correct it as a group and they check and correct their own sentences.

Submitted by: Mark Rupe

I have always used DOL but decided to give Caught Ya a try this year. They use a simple journal to record the sentences.

1. I put the sentence(s) on the board with the number of errors listed. I have changed a few vocabulary words, and I add mini-lesson skills I have taught in the form of new sentences. I always did this with DOL too. This is much like what the Caught Ya author describes.

2. I make a big deal out of the vocabulary word. I use it all day in my speech. It's on the board all day as a reminder. If I get excited about the word, so do the students.

3. We correct after about 8 minutes. We use the methods described in the text (students adding marks).

4. I give a Caught Ya quiz on Friday which consists of the weeks Caught Ya sentences. I let the students study their journals for 10 min. before the quiz. Many rewrite the sentences. Some quiz a partner. I encourage and teach different study strategies that fit this. A perfect quiz is an A. If they miss one, it's a B, and so on. This is half of my language grade. Some of the vocabulary choices by the author are interesting "Wizened"? Anyway, it provoked learning on my part!