Connecting Grammar And Writing Jenny


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Connecting Grammar And Writing Jenny

  1. 1. Investigating the Connections: Grammar Instruction & Improvement in Student Writing
  2. 2. Discovery #1 <ul><li>Language is a code particular to a culture and kids acquire language(s) by learning how words are used and relate to each other in particular contexts; many researchers believe that children have an innate ability to learn syntax; some educators have interpreted this to mean that grammar instruction should focus primarily on the relationships between words, parts of sentences and longer pieces (Weaver, Chapter 1; Sams); </li></ul>
  3. 3. Discovery #2 <ul><li>Many educators agree that an important purpose behind grammar instruction is to help kids learn to navigate between “home language,” “school language” and “professional language;” many educators advocate for engaging students in explicit discussions and activities that focus on the relationship between language and power, e.g. literary analysis of a variety of pieces with a particular focus on diction, voice and credibility; </li></ul>
  4. 4. Discovery #3 Focusing too much attention on hunting for and correcting student errors in grammar, usage and punctuation can lead to a shutting down of the creative process;
  5. 5. Discovery #4 <ul><li>Many teacher-researchers have discovered that a large number of the traditional rules for correct grammar and usage – like not ending sentences with prepositions or never writing incomplete sentence fragments – are not obeyed by professional writers, with positive results; they argue that we therefore do students a disservice if we categorically state that certain elements of grammar, mechanics and/or usage are wrong and always to be avoided (Weaver, Chapter 12; Schuster); </li></ul>
  6. 6. Discovery #5 <ul><li>According to considerable research, traditional techniques that teach grammar “out of context,” i.e. by making kids diagram sentences and memorize lots of terms without providing direct examples from literature and opportunities to apply it to their own writing, do not relate to improvement in student writing; </li></ul>
  7. 7. Discovery #6 <ul><li>Many educators have interpreted this to mean that grammar is best taught through frequent exposure to different types of reading and writing, with occasional mini-lessons followed by direct application, rather than extensive direct grammar instruction; </li></ul>
  8. 8. Discovery #7 <ul><li>Teaching grammar through traditional methods like sentence diagramming can be very successful, provided the instruction is tied directly to models and applied directly to student writing; Sams has discovered that by teaching diagramming by asking a series of questions about relationships enables students to better understand and analyze the effects of their own writing (Sams); </li></ul>
  9. 9. Discovery #8 <ul><li>Rei Noguchi and others argue that students need to know a very small number of grammatical terms in order to be able to discuss, analyze and improve their writing; Noguchi’s list includes the following: sentence (or independent clause), subject, verb and modifier (Weaver, Chapter 2; Noguchi); </li></ul>
  10. 10. Discovery #9 <ul><li>Grammar is usually taught in the context of writing and rarely addressed in the teaching of literature, yet many educators argue that it is productive to examine why writers choose to use particular grammar and to what effects; this helps students to understand that using grammar is a way of expressing their personal style, much like painting or other arts, and it gives them ideas and models with which to experiment in their own writing (Doniger; Weaver, Chapter 10); </li></ul>
  11. 11. Discovery #10 <ul><li>Many teachers have found that sentence combining teaches kids to create more sophisticated sentences without requiring them to know very many grammatical terms or concepts; there are lots of good sentence combining activities available through educational publishers, like The Write Source, Inc. & Heinemann, or you can make up your own crazy sentences; </li></ul>
  12. 12. Discovery #11 <ul><li>Resources like The Well-Tempered Sentence and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire , both by Karen Elizabeth Gordon, offer interesting model sentences for students to practice their punctuation and grammar while also explaining rules clearly and concisely. </li></ul>