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Grammar Instruction


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  • 1. “If the expectation of what we teach students about writing is changing, then so should our preparation. If we are to teach the craft of writing to students, and not just mechanics and spelling, most of us cannot rely solely on our own histories of writing instruction.” ~ Elizabeth Hale, Crafting Writers
  • 2. Writing Activity Write at least three sentences about something fun you’ve done recently with your friends or family. You MUST follow these two rules: 1. Indicate plurals using the marker guk. 2. Form past tense with the ending bo. Example: On Saturday, I hadbo brunch with my friendguk, Heidi and Lydia.
  • 3. “Errorwocky” “When I was a child, editing meant error (bad, wrong, red pen and points off).” ~Lucy Calkins, The Art of Teaching Writing “Grammar is the skunk at the garden party of the language arts.” ~Grammar Alive! “the G word” ~Martha Kolln, Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects
  • 4. “bleeding all over the paper” When teachers “‘red-ink’ student writing to a fatal hemorrhage [they] destroy student interest in writing and writing improvement.” ~Rei Noguchi, Grammar and the Teaching of Writing: Limits and Possibilities “The English Teacher’s Red Pen: History of an Obsession” ~Steven Zemelman and Harvey Daniels, A Community of Writers
  • 5. “A Third Way” “In teaching grammar for writing, less is more.” ~Rei Noguchi, Grammar and the Teaching of Writing: Limits and Possibilities “Teach an inch wide and a mile deep.” ~Theresa Reagan-Donk, qtd. in The Grammar Plan Book by Constance Weaver
  • 6. “Putting Grammar in Its Place” “If students learn elements of grammar in the context of expanding their options as writers, it has its place.” ~Jim Burke, The English Teacher’s Companion
  • 7. Four Major Definitions of Grammar • Grammar as a description of syntactic structure • Grammar as prescriptions for how to use structures and words • Grammar as rhetorically effective use of syntactic structures • Grammar as the functional command of sentence structure that enables us to comprehend and produce language ~Constance Weaver, Teaching Grammar in Context
  • 8. A more positive view • “Grammar—the ways words are used to shape meaning, voice, style . . .” ~Jim Burke • Grammatical conventions are “what readers’ eyes and minds expect from texts, and how marks and forms give writing voice and power and make reading predictable and easy.” ~Nancie Atwell • Conventions are “a tool to make [the writer’s] meaning clear and help the reader understand what they are saying.” ~Ruth Culham
  • 9. woman without her man is lost Woman, without her, man is lost. or Woman, without her man, is lost.
  • 10. How many different marks of punctuation can you think of? List as many as you can. GO!
  • 11. . “ ” ? ‘ ’ ! ’ , ` ; - : — . . . * ( ) [ ] { } < > /
  • 12. Pat Smith called Sarah Lou is here that that is is that that is not is not this is it isn’t it
  • 13. One of the jobs of the teacher is to “make students consciously, linguistically aware of the grammatical repertoire they already possess.” (Olson, p. 291)
  • 14. Alternatives to Daily Oral Language • Mentor Texts “Every single text we encounter presents us with a whole chunk of curriculum, a whole set of things to know about writing.” ~Katie Wood Ray • Sentence Imitation • Sentence Combining • Scrambled Sentences • Express-Lane Edit
  • 15. Sentence Imitation Papa slogs through the door, pouchy bags under his eyes, a mustard stain on his shirt. from Replay by Sharon Creech
  • 16. Sentence Combining Tucker was a trucker. Tucker was out of luck. He was stuck in the muck. He was near Winnemucca.
  • 17. Embrace Students’ Errors What’s hiding in their errors? • Pseudo-concepts • Approximations • Over-generalized rules • Valuable information about where they are as writers • A direction for instruction
  • 18. Grammar Girl: podcast and website
  • 19. “Steve dreaded choosing between the bees and the tweens.”
  • 20. A Fine Mess Kalman illustrates the phrase “Well, Susan, this is a fine mess you are in” with this portrait of a basset hound.
  • 21. Imagining Possessives Kalman illustrates the phrase “Somebody else’s umbrella.”
  • 22. Thinking Outside the Box
  • 23. “When a thought takes one’s breath away, a lesson on grammar seems an impertinence.” ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Preface to Emily Dickinson’s Poems
  • 24. “It is grammar, first of all, that makes language possible, that allows us to articulate our thoughts, our selves, in utterances.” ~Oliver Sacks, Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf