Teaching Grammar In Context Jan Joines Literacy Coach Forts Pond Elementary School email@example.com
Questions to Think About • Do you feel unprepared to teach grammar? • Do you believe you need a grammar book in order to help you teach grammar? • Do you think Daily Oral Language is an effective technique to teach grammar?
Research “According to In a Reading State of Mind, researchers recently have identified a new type of neuron, the mirror neuron. These cells are activated ‘when we do something. They seem to mirror the behaviors regardless of whether or not we’re the one moving!’ The conclusion the authors reach: ‘Our brain is hardwired to mimic and imitate.’” Reading Today October/November 2008
Jeff Anderson says… “So if you’re still jones-ing for daily transparencies with errors to edit (DOL), consider that there may be another way to teach editing: a process that starts with powerful sentences, sentences that teach, sentences that marinate our students in positive models of what writing can be, not what it shouldn’t be.” Everyday Editing: Inviting Students to Develop Skill and Craft in Writer’s Workshop – Jeff Anderson (2007)
Do you think you need a grammar book? THINK AGAIN ! “One essential and telling difference between learning from a style manual and learning from literature is that any how-to book will, almost by definition, tell you how not to write…a pedagogy that involves warnings about what might be broken and directions on how to fix it—as opposed to learning from literature, which teaches by positive model.” Reading Like a Writer – Francine Prose, (2006)
Grammar Books vs. Grammar in Context “A recent study (Fearn and Farnan 2005) found that teaching students to focus on function and practical application of grammar within the context of writing (versus teaching grammar as an independent activity) produced strong and positive effects on students’ writing.
Grammar Book vs. Grammar in Context Overall, the findings on grammar instruction suggest that, although teaching grammar is important, alternative procedures…are more effective than traditional approaches for improving the quality of students’ writing.” Writing Next – Graham and Perin (2007)
Tips to Remember • The idea is to begin with the end in mind. (Covey 2004) • Knowing what successful writing looks like (Spandel 2004) helps students produce more effective sentences. Everyday Editing: Inviting Students to Develop Skill and Craft in Writer’s Wrokshops – Jeff Anderson (2007)
Jeff Anderson learned… “When students encountered more and more beautiful text, this joy, this beauty ended up in their writing. And I knew. My students were writing under the influence—of literature, of powerful, effective beautiful writing.” Everyday Editing: Inviting Students to Develop Skill and Craft in Writer’s Workshop – Jeff Anderson (2007)
How does an author learn grammar? “I wish I could say that I learned to edit from the many well-executed lessons I received in grammar and high school…I didn’t really think about editing and what it meant until I became a writer. Now I’m constantly reading published books with a critical eye…For me, all learning revolves around authentic use.” --Lola Schaefer, author of more than two hundred children’s books
Practical Steps to Teach Grammar in Context • Before beginning a lesson, ask yourself what prior knowledge do my students need to have? EXAMPLE: If you are teaching subject-verb agreement, your students must know what a subject and verb are before beginning the lesson.
Morning Message • Compose a morning message that contains many examples of what you want the students to learn. EXAMPLE: Pronoun-referent Several of your sentences would include nouns that would be written as a pronoun later in the sentence.
Morning Message Ask your students: • What do you notice? • What else? • How does it sound when we read it? • What would change if we removed this or that? • Which do you prefer? Why?
Rule Chart • Write on a chart what your students learned together about the sentences. • Place the chart up in the room for student reference.
Literature • Look for examples of the type of grammar you are teaching in a picture book or chapter book that would interest your students. • Write the sentences that demonstrate what you want to teach in a SMART board lesson or on a chart. • Ask the students what they notice about the sentences. • Discuss the grammar in the sentences.
Independent Practice • Ask the students to look for the grammar you are teaching in their guided and independent reading. • The students may fill out the following form. I found the sentence: ____________________ I found this in _______________(book title) on page ____________.
Avoid Confusions • Provide examples of sentences that may cause a confusion for the students. EXAMPLE: subject-verb agreement A herd of elephants was bathing in the water. (Most students think elephants is the subject and would be plural. However, herd is the subject, and it is singular.)
Writing Practice • Ask your students to use the grammar they learned in their writing. • Author’s Chair – After writing, students share the sentences they wrote.
PASS-like Questions • After the students have seen many sentences written grammatically correct, you may assess the students using PASS-like questions. EXAMPLE: How would you edit this sentence correctly?
In Conclusion “Invite students to notice, to read like writers, to come into the world of editing—a friendly place rather than a punishing place, a creational facility rather than a correctional one. When we develop a place where concepts can be developed and patterns can be learned, kids feel safe, take risks, and feel welcome in every stage of the writing process.” Everyday Editing: Inviting Students to Develop Skill and Craft in Writer’s Workshop – Jeff Anderson (2007)
Bibliography • Anderson, Jeff. 2007. Everyday Editing: Inviting Students to Develop Skill and Craft in Writer’s Workshop. Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. • Anderson, Jeff. 2005. Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usuage, and Style into Writer’s Workshop. Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. • Hoyt, L. & Therriault, T. 2008. Mastering the Mechanics: Ready-to-Use Lessons for Modeled, Guided, and Independent Editing. New York: Scholastic