Yes! You Can Teach Grammar In Workshop Three Essential Methods to Tuck In Grammar Effectively

The rooms are packed. Teachers are sitting on the floors.  There is an excited buzz in these rooms. Voices are rising and falling like the waves on the ocean. Sparkling with ideas and new learning.  We are feeling so fortunate to be in the company of so many talented teachers.  Mary is talking about running from place to place.  She is joking about grammar – yes we do really want to be in this room.  When you think of grammar and your kids and your classroom how do you ever fit it in? What is it? When do you press it in? We are turning and talking with a teacher from Connecticut.

The consensus – we don’t fit “it” in enough and maybe the best place for it is Interactive Writing…

Back together again… subject verb agreement – all languages are beautiful and challenging.  There are so many irregular verbs – that is our curse.  How can we help kids fixup their writing?  None is going to happen through small groups.  We need a systematic approach to grammar.  One that threads up throughout the grades.  How can we be “grammar ambassadors”?  Instructional Method for Teaching Grammar – Demonstrations, Inquiry, Interludes and  Extravaganzas. Think about the “stickiness” factor?  Teacher  Models: Brief (6 minutes) most will get from the lesson. Inquiry: Takes longer.  They are going to study (20 minutes) in their small groups with a specific lens.  Kids don’t transfer beyond what they already know and do, they tend to notice what they are already doing.  It provides an innate differentiation.  The idea of interludes and extravaganzas lends itself to a separate block of inquiry.  Nice conversations happening now. We were taking about and thinking about this idea as a stand alone that would cycle into  the UoS that would build and carry threads from grade to grade.  Maybe infusing some interesting writing that plays with grammar as mini-read-alouds.

Decoding (strong phonetic knowledge) reading happens when your brain attaches meaning to it.   Encoding (picturing the word and giving the spelling to that word).  It is not something that is able to be learned – if you’re not a natural speller – it just will be –  what it will be.  Many teachers are natural spellers (not Jenn).  One thing to know is that’s why Hatte is sending out the message that hard work is not always going to pay off.  This generation is learning to write and at greater volume than ever before.  The problem is the digital code- They are losing their control of high frequency words and capitalization.   Digital literacy is different.  What do we know about the research of stages of acquisition:

  • Recognition – story language (Read Aloud is so important).  They try to write the way they have been spoken to and read to… makes sense
  •  Approximation – Kindergarten small letters and big letters.for months that is learned sometimes the whole time. This shouldn’t frustrate us. Think about the challenges that kids are taking on in their writing.  Run on sentences… so lucky they are writing so much. This is a long stage.
  • Mastery – It is not realistic for first grade teachers to expect mastery of ending marks of sentences
  • Slippage – we worry about this but sometimes
  • Code Switching – kids are not fluid with the the natural vernacular and academic language.

Flash drafting – editing work all at once.  With the introduction of every new genre students can regress.  They may only have mastery in narrative not informational.  This makes so much sense to me.  Our brain naturally fills in the corrections for you.  Someone else has to look at your writing.  Writers only see what they’re ready to see – they see what they already do in their own writing.  Makes sense.  So others have to look at it, that’s why we have editors!  So smart the way TC wrote the UoS  – thinking about that’s why the second grade UoS does the publishing houses.

Now we are turning and talking again… The question – What is your mindset around grammar, punctuation, and spelling?  We believe it’s important to have a playful mindset around this topic.  Mary is showing a quote from Eats Shoots and Leaves:.  It’s suggested that we could have students write these themselves.  That’s an interesting idea.

We are looking at a demonstration – a quick grammar lesson.  She is using a Schoolhouse Rock Video: Schoolhouse Rock Xavier Sarsaparilla (Pronouns).  She is playing this video as we are exiting the room.  We are thinking about how having a scope and sequence and planning days of instructions embedded within the UoS is important work.  Making these lessons be inquiry based is a new idea – one that would promote the transfer through collaborative work.  Taking these fun videos is just another way to make this work more engaging.  Again, this is for the most part, confirmation of what we felt was missing in our UoS work in Reading and Writing Workshop.  It is so great to see we are on the right track – wink wink!


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