Christine Hartzman is a repeat guest blogger for our book study on the The Writing Strategies. This week's goal continues to focus on the conventions of writing, but more specifically on grammar and punctuation. Christine will be heading to Teachers College the last week of June for the Advanced Reading Institute. Thanks for guest hosting, Christine!
The rhythm of the prepositions being repeated twenty three times around the classroom while the teacher stands in the front writing checks in her gradebook with a serious look on her face.
About, above, across, after, against, among, around, at…
Jennifer Serravallo begins Goal 9 by asking readers to recall how their teachers taught grammar to them. I was quick to flashback to seventh grade where Sister Mary A taught us to memorize, to memorize, and to memorize some more parts of the English language. In addition to the memorization technique, I had the pleasure of completing countless worksheets, diagramming many sentences, and labeling parts of speech to learn as Serravallo stated, “The Rules”.
Currently, in my role as an instructional coach, I have experienced many classrooms in a variety of grade levels and in a variety of content areas. Conventions - grammar and punctuation - are typically the areas where students tend to have weaknesses and where teachers are in need of practical and timely tools to support their students. Once again, Serravallo provides a remedy with strategies that are an “invitation to play” rather than “to fix” mistakes.
Here are two strategies that I want to share and to teach as writing tools for students at the start of the year:
9.16 Paragraph Starters
Students analyze the beginning line of each paragraph in their writing. Then, students determine if they need to connect ideas, to transition in time, or to set up a topic or a subtopic. Need support? Students can look at paragraph beginnings in their independent reading books for paragraph starter ideas. Also, teachers can create an anchor chart of sample starters as a scaffold for students.
9.17 Read Your Draft Aloud, and Listen
The student reads the draft aloud and listens to how it sounds. By reading aloud and listening, students can focus on sentence length, punctuation placement, and tone. This is a simple, a quick, and an easy strategy for students to use all year long.
Which strategies will you invite your students to play with next year? How can you change the mindset of your students “to play” rather than “to fix”?