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Teaching Effective Grammar SkillsHas anyone discovered how to teach grammar...

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linalarocca | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 22, 2010 at 3:42 PM via web

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Teaching Effective Grammar Skills

Has anyone discovered how to teach grammar skills effectively? My students have always performed very well on grammar tests; however, they can not seem to translate their good grammar skills to their writing. When I receive their writing assignments, it is as though no one has ever taught them grammar!?

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roberteinarsson | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:29 AM (Answer #56)

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My workbook Traditional English Sentence Style tries to answer this question. I think it is a matter of reinforcing the sections a sentence divides into, and how those sections are arranged and put together. Then, I think it is very important to spend a lot of time analyzing sentences written by classic authors with really strong writing styles.

By reinforcing their awareness of sentence segments, we give students the ability to manipulate, and by the way to punctuate, those segments competently.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted April 22, 2010 at 4:48 PM (Answer #2)

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I think in order for students to be able to transfer the learning from drill and practice to their writing they must be given lots of opportunities to write. I would also say that it is very important to teach students to use the writing process, make them use a rough draft and revise the draft as often as they need to before taking a final grade on the project.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 22, 2010 at 5:13 PM (Answer #3)

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I agree with the previous post. Something that I always try to do is to get them to write about something that is relevant to them personally. If they have a personal interest in a topic then they are willing to write about it so they may share it with others. By doing this they are practicing their writing skills without even knowing it.

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booksnmore | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 22, 2010 at 5:30 PM (Answer #4)

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I agree with both posters. I think the way to teach grammar is to USE IT. A lot. I really like writing workshops where kids write, write, write, and then listen to mini-lessons that focus daily on little things they can do to improve their writing, grammar included. The other way, of course, is to read a lot. I do wonder what effect all the "shortcuts" in texting, etc. have on grammar. How can we expect students to write properly when the majority of their writing is through texting and as far from "proper" as you can get?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 22, 2010 at 6:22 PM (Answer #5)

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I like to teach sentence variety by giving them sample sentences that have a grammatical structure to them, and then asking them to copy the style:

For example: Participle Phrase

Paralyzed by fear, Johnny sat waiting for the teacher to catch him in his crime.

Then we discuss defining characteristics, and create some.

Laughing at her mistake, Subject... verb... and finish it.

Snapping a finger, Subject... verb... and finish it.

Then, move the participle phrases to another spot in a sentence. So, my purpose is sentence variety, but I am also teaching a grammatical concept using the term, defining the characteristics, and demonstrating how it functions as an adjective in a variety of ways.

 

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 23, 2010 at 2:44 PM (Answer #6)

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I agree with all earlier posts that state that the only way to learn to use grammar skills are to actually use them in writing.  Activities such as imitative writing (using mentor texts) and revision ask students to focus on grammar and rhetoric while writing.

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anthonda49 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted April 24, 2010 at 2:30 PM (Answer #7)

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I've noticed the same thing with my former students. I would teach a grammar lesson, we'd practice it, quiz on it, and it looked like the students knew the topic well. Then, in their writing they promptly forgot about what they learned. In teaching the writing process, I use peer groups to conference and proofread. Usually I arrange the group  heterogeneously. There is frequently a student response sheet on which the peer points out any grammar errors that have been the focus in class. Of a group of four, at least one (or more) of the students can catch the majority of the errors and is a good enough student that their own writing is fairly correct.  I've even had some of my less talented English students catch their peers in a mistake. All this is done in the manner of cooperatively assisting each other to write their best.

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cfett | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 24, 2010 at 5:47 PM (Answer #8)

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As most of the previous contributors have mentioned, "practice makes perfect" when it comes to learning grammar through writing.  The same concept applies with learning vocabulary -- learning the words alone is good for rote memorization, but learning vocabulary in context, either through reading or writing -- allows the students to actually LEARN the material.

 

     As anthonda49 mentioned, peer reviews are excellent ways for students to learn how to actually use grammar and to apply grammatical concepts to writing.  On your teacher-created peer review sheets, perhaps ask students to look for certain phrases or clauses, to count the number of helping verbs, etcetera.  Some teachers even choose to focus on one or two grammatical concepts at a time when creating rubrics for grading writing assignments.  When students receive consistent feedback -- from teachers and from their peers -- they usually respond positively.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 24, 2010 at 11:08 PM (Answer #9)

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Post #1 says that students perform well in grammar tests but do not translate their grammar skills into writing. One reason could be that the grammar being taught is outdated; it does not incorporate the changes in usage that have taken place   in recent times. Therefore students learn grammar just to be able to perform well on tests. When it comes to expressing themselves and making others understand what they have to say, however, they find that contemporary language is the best and most convenient means of doing so. Perhaps we need critically to examine the extent to which grammar itself, and not just the kind of language used by the students, needs to be changed.

To put it another way, grammar should make learning a language easier, rather than more difficult. If knowledge of grammar is not helping students to improve their language, there must be something wrong with the grammar that is being taught.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 25, 2010 at 4:10 AM (Answer #10)

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I really love diagramming sentences.  I realize this is considered stuffy and old fashioned, but I have an entire wall in my classroom which is magnetic.  We use magnetic words, and first write sentences.  I give them the patterns sometimes, and they come up with them at others (S-V; S-V-DO; etc).  Then, they switch groups and work on breaking the sentence apart into the diagram itself.  It is our Friday Fun, and it gets them out of their seats, gets them working with a hands-on activity, and gets them thinking about grammar. 

You could have them do this at their seats with newspapers and magazines.  Find a sentence, cut it out, and then break it apart to diagram on their desktops or tables.

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 28, 2010 at 8:15 AM (Answer #11)

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Grammar is often a matter of transference. Students may seem to have "mastered" it in a drill-and-kill worksheet, but may not be able to apply it to their own writing. Too often, grammar instruction is too polarized--it either happens solely through sentence diagramming and drill-and-kill worksheets or it doesn't happen at all. I completely agree that the ultimate goal must be for students to apply these grammatical rules and concepts in their own writing.

Certainly, we need to be teaching students grammatical rules and concepts, but that should be done one rule at a time and when the need arises (in other words, when evidenced in student writing). I've found these rules and concepts best taught in short, mini-lessons. We then look back through literature that we have read, looking for examples of those rules and concepts in practice. Finally, we return to our writing portfolios looking for places in our own writing where we might revise and apply the rule or concept. It isn't a perfect protocol, but it seems to work and students seem to retain both the rule and the ability to apply the rule. 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 28, 2010 at 3:22 PM (Answer #12)

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The only worksheets that I have found to be somewhat effective in making the transference to student writing have been ones that accompanied a literature text.  These were called "Grammar in Action," and they employed passages from the text which was under study.  For instance, if the students had read T.H. White's "Arthur Becomes King of Britain," sentences were extracted from this text for study of subordinate clauses.

A graduate school professor told his English majors, "Do not teach grammar.  Teach writing."  This method of teaching a type of "grammar in action" is effective many times.  While Nancy Atwell's book, In the Middle was originally designed for middle school writers, there is much that works for high school students, as well.  You may wish to check out the reviews on this wonderful instructional book.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:20 PM (Answer #13)

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I don't teach tradition grammar, never have.

Instead, I teach prose style analysis.  We compare paragraph passages in terms of POV, sentence type and structure, word choice, pronoun usage, and type of rhetorical appeal.

We use Aristotle and Walker Gibson exclusively.  No grammar book or DOL workbook.  We compare/contrast, count words, and try to emulate certain prototypical authors.

It's an AP Language-based lesson that works well at any grade-level.  It's more focused and certainly less prescriptive than traditional grammar.  I encourage everyone to give it a try.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:50 PM (Answer #14)

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Well, in my state, if I want to keep my job I have to teach grammar because I will be evaluated according to how well my students do on the end of course exam. I'm SO fortunate to live and work in Tennessee, which was one of only two states awarded Race to the Top funds. There's no such thing as tenure anymore in Tennessee. Any teacher can be fired any time test scores fail to make gains. And we're all going to be evaluated every year. Oh, I just love our new president---NOT!

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nusratfarah | Valedictorian

Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:13 AM (Answer #15)

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I you are a teacher, teach students rules of grammar, but give them examples first. I think inductive method would be more effective. Implementation of those grammatical rules will be seen to be projected in their writing, so, let them practise writing more. Ask them to create sentences on their own following a certain rule. Check them. Then let them go through open-ended writings more.

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:19 AM (Answer #16)

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Well, in my state, if I want to keep my job I have to teach grammar because I will be evaluated according to how well my students do on the end of course exam. I'm SO fortunate to live and work in Tennessee, which was one of only two states awarded Race to the Top funds. There's no such thing as tenure anymore in Tennessee. Any teacher can be fired any time test scores fail to make gains. And we're all going to be evaluated every year. Oh, I just love our new president---NOT!

We're all required to teach grammar--as we should be. The question becomes how to best teach grammar to help our students. When we focus our attention there, everything else falls into place.

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted May 1, 2010 at 4:46 PM (Answer #17)

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Another way I reinforce grammar, and the parts of speech in particular, is through kinesthetic activities. This idea works especially well at the end of the year, when none of the kids wants to do work anyway. As one example, I'll use "preposition ball." My school has a sand volleyball court, and as the weather warms up and the kids want to be outside anyhow, I will arrange one day out of the week to take an "on-campus field experience" to the volleyball pit. There, the students are expected to name a preposition before hitting the ball back over the net to the opposing side. We start with the ball's action: over, under, around, through, etc., and then move into more complex prepositions. The activity results in reinforcement of basic skills, and the kids love it. Another method I use is "subject-predicate catch," but that's a whole other activity for a whole other post.

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bobthym | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 2, 2010 at 1:38 PM (Answer #18)

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The ultimate mystery. How do you teach grammar in such a way that improves your students' writing? I don't think there is an easy answer to that one. I do know that Constance Weaver has written one of the best books on this subject called Teaching Grammar in Context. I come from the school of thought that says that students need to write a lot and that grammar needs to be taught in the context of writing. But I believe that the language of grammar needs to be taught. For example, writers need to understand the language of editors. If an editor says, you have a dangling modifier in your sentence, then the writer also needs to know what an participial phrase is.

I still believe that sentence combining is the best way to teach grammar. Not only are your training the students to revise their writing between draft one and draft two, but you are teaching the language of grammar. Sentence combining can also achieve the objective of teaching sentence variety. Richard Lederer's grammar books have some wonderful drills.

 

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kart | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 4, 2010 at 1:45 AM (Answer #19)

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Teaching Effective Grammar Skills

Has anyone discovered how to teach grammar skills effectively? My students have always performed very well on grammar tests; however, they can not seem to translate their good grammar skills to their writing. When I receive their writing assignments, it is as though no one has ever taught them grammar!?

it is not just enough to teach grammar effectively.there is every chance of forgetting what they learn.it has to be put into repeated practise.they have to be made to work out sentences related to the grammar topic taught in the class. only reapeted practise makes perfection.

 

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linalarocca | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 7, 2010 at 4:04 AM (Answer #20)

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Thank-you for all of your ideas! You have all been very helpful in guiding me to become a better teacher; thus, you have aided many students in the area of grammar and writing.

Sincerely,

Lina

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sboeman | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted May 14, 2010 at 6:43 PM (Answer #21)

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My high school students seem to love Mad Libs-they're easy to copy, eat up some time, and the kids get a kick out of them.  It's also fun to have them make their own and share them with each other.

Another idea is to have each student write a short sentence, no more than 3 or 4 words.  They will then pass the sentence to another person, who will then rewrite it and add, say, one adjective and one adverb.  Then, once again, pass it on and another will add a prepositional phrase and a subordinate clause, for example.  Pretty soon people can add sentences, paragraphs, etc., and the people love to get their "stories" back at the end.

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bpearl | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2010 at 7:04 AM (Answer #22)

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The is nothing wrong with a little rote drill, albeit backed up with practical editing.  There is a good program called D.O.L. (stands for Daily Oral Language) that I begin each class with.  It is a good warm up exercise that gets them thinking grammatically

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kart | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:47 PM (Answer #23)

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Nothing is more impressive and long lasting than visuvalaising things.when things are shown to the students in the form of vedios, or LCD'S ,they remember them for a long time. for eXamlpe, when they are shown photos or pictures of places ,animals in dense forest ,great personalities of the world,they get fixed in their mind.this can be explained as the examples of nouns in grammar.many such topics can be taught in power point presentation and in many other visual aids methods for effective grammar teaching.this is one of the method fo teaching effective grammar skills.

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kart | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2010 at 12:22 AM (Answer #24)

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I agree with the pevious post .only by repeated activity we can make the students learn grammar.At the bigining stage we have to teach them the normal rules or structures what ever me may call it. then some sentences or worked out based on that rules on the black board ,by the teacher herself with the help of the students.next step is, the students are asked to work out themselves and the teacher helps them ,wherever ever needed on the board.finally the students are made to work out some sentences on their own to test how far they have undrestood explaing and applying the rules taught. by this  method of teaching we could make atleast 50% of the students learn grammar throughly. the remaining 50 % are the slow learners and  the students who have lerarned by  their regional  language.A special concentration and a some more effort on them , by teaching them as a seperate  group would result in good result.

                        Thus, by reaching grammar ,by the above mentioned method is a per my opinion ,which is being implemeted currently, since i srarted my proffession as a teacger in english is more effective one to teach grammar to the students.

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted May 18, 2010 at 4:13 AM (Answer #25)

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Sadly, not many are able to teach effective grammer skills...even in my AP English Language class, there is terrible grammer, spoken AND written...just 2 weeks ago IN THAT CLASS a girl spoke the most poorly constructed sentance I have ever heard in my life...it's truely sad...

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qito | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 23, 2010 at 10:36 PM (Answer #26)

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REALLY YOUR DISCCUSIONS ARE TOATALY RIGHT. I AM A STUDENT IN THE SECOND STAGE, TILL NOW IN MY COLLEGE WE HAVE NOT A GRAMMER LECTUER. I AM JUST PRACTICE ON MYSELF. SO " TEACH ME I WANT TO LEARN"

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swimma-logan | Student, College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:26 AM (Answer #27)

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REALLY YOUR DISCCUSIONS ARE TOATALY RIGHT. I AM A STUDENT IN THE SECOND STAGE, TILL NOW IN MY COLLEGE WE HAVE NOT A GRAMMER LECTUER. I AM JUST PRACTICE ON MYSELF. SO " TEACH ME I WANT TO LEARN"

I really hope that your post was a satirical attempt to emphasize the need for better teaching of grammer, because if not, I have no idea how you got accepted into college, because those were some of the most poorly constructed sentences in the world...

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jblederman | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:18 AM (Answer #28)

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I do enjoy the posts relating to grammar that contain atrocious grammar. There is a spell check option right here!

As an educator, I must agree with teaching the skill of writing as opposed to teaching grammar. I did learn some GUM in school, but as a life-long reader and writer, identification and correction of mistakes is much more intutitive than a process.

I do not circle errors on papers or make corrections. The students warn an overall GUM score on a writing assignment, and must find their own errors to increase the score. I encourage them to have a proofreader that is NOT Microsoft Word, but a living being.

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joaniejob | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM (Answer #29)

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I have found that applying the "KISS" (Keep it SIMPLE, Students) method works best to ensure student retention of grammar rules.

After each new rule introduction,  I let my students compete to see who can most quickly compose three fully correct sentences which reflect the pertinent rule.  The immediate reinforcement with a simple application of constructing a sentence with the proper use of the rule seems to work well.

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ekadev | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:03 AM (Answer #30)

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A well made term plan will be very much useful in teaching grammar lessons. Once you sort out what you are going to teach within a term then prepare some texts to give them contextual taste. Incorporate the grammatical structures you are trying to teach into those texts and then teach them contextually. This will help them not only in learning grammatical structures bult also in developing reading skill. If you are able to make a good plan with a good contextual texts, then you will be able to give your students a balanced experience of all the skills of language that your students are in need of.

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zyvett | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 1, 2010 at 6:25 PM (Answer #31)

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I think that students should learn grammar skills and then practice those specific skills in writing. For example, if you are working on parts of speech, then have them write a paragraph or short essay using a certain formula, maybe every sentence has to have a certain number of nouns, adjectives, etc. Then the students, along with their peers, edit in groups, highlighting specifics. This also works with topic sentences, thesis statements, and the like.

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:04 AM (Answer #32)

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My favorite way of teaching grammar is using Ann Longknife and K.D. Sullivan's The Art of Styling Sentences.  This short handbook explores 20 basic sentences patterns.  Each pattern includes generic examples as well as examples taken from professional writing. The sentences are clearly impactful, and students love to imitate them.  After teaching these sentence patterns, I find students imitating them in their writing, using semicolons, colons, parallel structures, elliptical constructions, etc.  These lessons work nicely as weekly mini-lessons.

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kalick | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 3, 2010 at 5:14 PM (Answer #33)

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Don and Jenny Killgallon's Sentence Composing workbooks are also great resources.  Students are asked to model particularly effective sentences from texts that are commonly taught in English class (To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, "Shooting an Elephant").  There are different versions of the text for different grade levels (middle school and high school). I think grammar instruction is important because it gives us a (teachers and students) a common language to talk about writing, and the structure of this book allows students to imitate models of effective writing without getting overwhelmed by intricate rules.  The modeling strategy works well because it is structured, but at the same time allows for creativity.  When students practice writing sentences it is easier for them to transfer their new skills to writing paragraphs and essays.

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devval23 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 4, 2010 at 12:17 PM (Answer #34)

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Having read most of these posts, I also agree that grammar MUST be incorporated into writing, but reading should also play a role. i am a secondary teacher and this is what I recommend:

Integrate and embed!

 

For example, for a unit on descriptive writing, you can focus on how concrete nouns and adjectives play a role in description. First, have them write a descriptive sentence and then ask them to identify words that describe. When they see that they haven't included sesnory language, teach an isolated lesson on nouns and adjectives, how they acts. Then, have them revise their sentence using concrete and proper nouns, and adjectives. Then, a reading exercise where they indentify descriptive langauge, then back to their own writing and then a lesson on verbs,etc...Teach each part of speech and how it acts and why it's important. For example, conjunctions could be next for sentence combining and sentence variety. Then have them read two texts to compare sentence length, then go back to descriptive writing and combine sentences, etc. Hope that wasn't too lengthy.

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devval23 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 4, 2010 at 12:18 PM (Answer #35)

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Sorry, I responded quickly without proofreading. Excuse my own grammar errors. Oops!

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eslamgewshy | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted June 5, 2010 at 3:31 AM (Answer #36)

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i think that there are many books that may help you in this point .i really don't have an idea but i loved to participate in this discussion

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charcunning | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted June 6, 2010 at 5:43 PM (Answer #37)

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We use what are called "Focus Correction Areas". For example, have students write in response to a prompt (can be formal or informal). Then choose 3 and only 3 areas to focus on--one or two can be grammar. For example, perhaps your FCA's for an assignment might be comma usage, subject/verb agreement and strong topic sentences. Have the students then GO BACK TO THEIR OWN WRITING and work on just those things; grade them on just those things as well.

They need to learn grammar in the context of their own writing--ALSO GIVE THEM LOTS OF AMAZING EXAMPLES!!

Also, pick out sentences with beautiful grammar, structure and punctuation and have them do a mimic.

For example: The dog, wet and smelly, rolled on my carpet; however, I loved him, so I forgave him.

Now THEY write one using the exact format:

For example My sister, obnoxious and annoying, barged into my room; however, she was bringing me cookies, so I wasn't mad for long.

 

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misterb200 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 10, 2010 at 6:05 AM (Answer #38)

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Teaching Effective Grammar Skills

Has anyone discovered how to teach grammar skills effectively? My students have always performed very well on grammar tests; however, they can not seem to translate their good grammar skills to their writing. When I receive their writing assignments, it is as though no one has ever taught them grammar!?

The best way for students to learn grammar is by doing massive amounts of reading. Stephen Krashen and others have provided ample research indicating that direct grammar instruction, while it may produce better results on grammar tests, does not have a track record of success in improving reading comprehension. Grammar is in and of itself a fascinating and worthy subject of study, but teaching it in a direct fashion is a laborious and ineffective method for improving reading. The work of Vygotsky and others indicates that learning takes place when new material is married to background knowledge. This learning takes place in a "zone of proximal development" or ZPD. Krashen and many others have also indicated that learning is accelerated when there is low affective filter. Direct grammar instruction does not meet this standard. As an English teacher, I find that modeling, sentence imitation, and massive amounts of reading will result in better grammar.

 

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keithi | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 10, 2010 at 6:59 PM (Answer #39)

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Teaching Effective Grammar Skills

Has anyone discovered how to teach grammar skills effectively? My students have always performed very well on grammar tests; however, they can not seem to translate their good grammar skills to their writing. When I receive their writing assignments, it is as though no one has ever taught them grammar!?

I believe they need practice, practice, practice until they have mastered a particular skill. One technique that I have used in the past is music. Several times a trimester I have the student write a song, or poem, or rap about a particular process or topic. It just needs to be grammatically and factually correct. Unfortunately we are experiencing some unique problems these days... they are texting and 'IM'ing!! At least once a week I get an assignment with abbreviated words just like if they were texting a friend...they just have to redo the assignment. Try doing the music lesson, the kids love doing it and they are always engaged!!

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parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted June 12, 2010 at 11:14 AM (Answer #40)

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I follow closely my students' progress (or lack of it) through their personal compositions.  I keep a memory check of repeated mistakes, and each student has his or her profile. When I mark an error with an arrow from the words 'FIX THIS!' in capital letters, they know this means that this is their personal mistake I have seen time and again, as rebellious as crabgrass, and that I don't want to ever see it again. This usually helps them to make the resolve to "fix it" indeed. I suppose it's the idea of personal accountability that either scares or motivates them to clear it out of their writing.

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smflannery | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:39 PM (Answer #41)

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Teaching Effective Grammar Skills

Has anyone discovered how to teach grammar skills effectively? My students have always performed very well on grammar tests; however, they can not seem to translate their good grammar skills to their writing. When I receive their writing assignments, it is as though no one has ever taught them grammar!?

  One of the many courses I teach is SAT Critical Reading and grammar is a major focus.  I found a wonderful website (www.chompchomp.com) that helps with the commom grammatical mistakes.  You might want to check it out.  It is a bit "cheesy" but it helps.

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dmclaren2 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 20, 2010 at 3:09 PM (Answer #42)

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I have used Jane Bell Kiester's Caught'ya! Grammar with a Giggle and The Chortling Bard: Caught'ya! Grammar with a Giggle for High Shcool. The books provide original stories oran original, modern take on a Shakespeare play that contains over a hundred sentences and is meant to be taught over the course of a school year.

Each day, the students are given one or two sentences to edit. The must decide whether they need to starta new paragraph, use quotation marks, etc. while I circulate trying to "catch" them making a mistake. We then go ove the sentence together, with students making corrections and explaining why that particular correction works. The rest of the class marks the corrections on their own papers so they all have examples of corrected sentences.

Becasue this method requires students to use grammar in the context of editing a real story, they are able to understand grammar rules and transfer more of the skills they have learned. I have had studnts thank me for making grammar less scary and mor real for them. The key is making grammar authentic.

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fuchsiadreams | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted June 21, 2010 at 3:45 AM (Answer #43)

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I agree that peer assessment is a valuable tool. Often a student is able to ascertain errors in a peer's writing piece more readily than they can in their own.

I find it helps to give students passages that have had the grammar omitted and have the students work in groups to figure out where the commas, colons etc go. You can then work through this as a class and explain the what, why and where of the grammar that you have inserted.

You can also try putting together a passage that has some incorrect grammar and seeing if students can spot the errors. Comma splicing is a consistent error, I find, so you can put in a stack of commas, for example and discuss that with the class or with groups.

Hope that helps!

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renee2181 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:08 PM (Answer #44)

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I have found it effective to assign a grammar topic for a student to teach the class.  I generally pick a topic that the student is weakest in mastering.  If they must exhibit mastery of the topic, they seem to be more apt to learn it well before teaching the class.  I also ask them to use visual aids such as PowerPoint, posters, etc. to teach the class.  They have five minutes to show the class how to correctly format dialogue. 

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soniand | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 27, 2010 at 11:15 AM (Answer #45)

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I am sure that having students apply the rules of grammar to their writing as indicated is indeed a conundrum.  I have taught grammar for a number of years to native speakers and non-native speakers alike and have found one method that seems to be successful IF the students keep up the responsibility for their own progress is error analysis.  This approach consists of assisting the students finding their personal grammar demons through  series of directed 10 minute journal writings, analyzing and cataloging these errors in a error diary, learning specific editing methods for each of the students' personal errors, prioritizing their personal errors, and finally editing specifically in their writing assignments for each error in their own writing.

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m1d1c1 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted June 29, 2010 at 7:08 AM (Answer #46)

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Teaching Effective Grammar Skills

Has anyone discovered how to teach grammar skills effectively? My students have always performed very well on grammar tests; however, they can not seem to translate their good grammar skills to their writing. When I receive their writing assignments, it is as though no one has ever taught them grammar!?

I have found that giving them a "Daily Edit" warm-up has made a difference in assisting my students to focus on using good grammar in writing.  They complete either the sentence (Mon.-Thurs.) or paragraph (on Fridays) while I check roll, etc... We then discuss and review the corrections. The students make their corrections and receive a weekly completion grade for having their warm-ups completed and edited.  This keeps editing skills fresh in their minds for writing assignments. 

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mermaid1441 | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted June 30, 2010 at 8:21 AM (Answer #47)

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Have your students watch a video or read a poem or story and then write a summary.  Put sentences from the students'  work on the overhead projector or white board and ask the class to correct any mistakes.  Discuss each sentence and how well it summarizes the topic. Brianstorm, sharing ideas and writing them on the board.  Draw conclusions together and chose the best ideas to write a class summary.  When it is complete, have each student copy the corrected summary.  Writing things that are grammatically correct will strengthen their skills.

Have your students write every day on a specific topic.  Correct grammatical errors and ask them to rewrite their entry with corrections made.  Post corrected papers on the outside halls of the class so the students will receive praise and recognition for their writing.

 

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gr8ious | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 6, 2010 at 9:32 PM (Answer #48)

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I don't expect or accept less than the best that they can do. If I know that they have been taught, tested, reviewed, and everything, I keep giving them their writing back until they are sick of it. I teach English and am a free-lance writer. Believe me when I say, editing is the last of the great white whales in terms of writing skills. It doesn't hurt them to have do-overs and eventially, they will remember to make the corrections before they turn the assignment in because they know that they will get it back if it has silly mistakes. I also let them key what they write on the computers (especially those who speak or hear something other than Standard English at home). I also don't believe that it hurts them to use grammar and spell-checker. The cool thing that happens is this: when they get their work back without a grade and they need help figuring out what is wrong, we get another chance to talk about it. That is teaching. By the way, I teach 6th through 12-grade. It works for all of them. Also, it bears noting that I don't alter anyone's work. The world is too full of English teachers who would forget that creative writing is just that; creative. A students who knows that what they put on paper is appreciated will be more apt to ask for a little help to make it more shall we say, correct.

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burbina | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 10, 2010 at 8:56 PM (Answer #49)

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I've taught Freshman writing for the last 5 years, and we've found that teaching grammar through writing seems to be effective.  They remember their mistakes and how to avoid them because they're seeing what they're doing wrong in their own work...not just a random sentence or multiple choice question.  The key to this, however, is to decide exactly what grammar skills you want to focus on.  Then, create daily grammar exercises...one slide PPTs...that the kids are require to do when they come into the room (have them keep a grammar notebook).  As a class, go through the exercise and have the kids correct their work in a different color than what they used to write originally.  Now...you should focus on one skill for an extended period of time...just approach it in different ways, and through different exercises.  Whatever writing assignment you're working on at this time, make sure the kids understand they'll be held accountable for that specific grammar skill in that writing assignment...work it into the scoring guide.  As the year goes on, the grammar skils students are being held responsible for become comprehensive.  This also helps with your grading of essays, for it allows you to focus on specific skills instead of wearing yourself and your students' papers out marking for everything.  You can mark everything...and comment on everything, but only hold them accountable for what you've covered.

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klclark525 | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 12, 2010 at 3:11 AM (Answer #50)

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This is something I teach every day in a 6th grade writing class.  I have all levels of writers in my 3 sections.  One tool I use every day is Daily Oral Language.  We do one sentence or so per day.  (I actually have them in a writer's notebook for each student; I don't like the idea of them copying down wrong grammar.  This way it's more like the editing they do with each other on their own pieces.)  When we go over these sentences, we discuss each why of each "fix-up"/grammar rule.  We take notes.  I even have hand actions and sayings for some of the trickery rules.

Next, we write.  I use the John Collins method (my version of) in which I teach Focus Corretion Areas that the writing piece will be scored on.  Mini-lessons focus on these things.  Students then peer conference once the piece has been through the writing process.  Revision insues and then they meet for a grammar editing conference with two other students.  At the beginning of the year, the editing conference is minimal.  By the end of the year, I hear students really discussing specifics much like we do with the DOL together.  At times, they'll even call on me to add to the discussion.  I have seen again and again student writers incorporate grammar into their own writing through this process.

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ktruth327 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 13, 2010 at 11:02 AM (Answer #51)

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Thanks for all your posts, they are very informational. I am a foreign language teacher, and one of the most significant difficulties I have with instruction is grammar! I can't tell you how much easier my life would be if every- or even most- students could recognize subjects, verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and articles in any given sentence. (If anyone could nail down what an infinitive or tense is, I'd pinch myself to see if I was dreaming!) This poses enormous difficulty for students who are even in their third and fourth years of college.

Something that I have done with foreign language instruction is to color-code. This is kind of my foreign language secret weapon. Negative markers are red, subjects and their verbs are one color, articles are double underlined with an arrow to the noun they introduce, etc. This kind of repeated visual association with grammar has been the most effective method I have found to teach grammar in a way that students inherently understand parts of speech.

I know this doesn't offer a lesson or specific exercises, but any students having major difficulty with grammar may benefit from this sort of visual learning, it has certainly helped students in my experience.

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sweetykalra | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 20, 2010 at 11:47 PM (Answer #52)

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Learn the grammer is essential for the good communication skills. So teachers in the class sholud concentrate oh grammer

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srkell3 | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 13, 2010 at 1:16 PM (Answer #53)

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Teaching Effective Grammar Skills

Has anyone discovered how to teach grammar skills effectively? My students have always performed very well on grammar tests; however, they can not seem to translate their good grammar skills to their writing. When I receive their writing assignments, it is as though no one has ever taught them grammar!?

I have been successful when showing my students real-life examples of grammatical mistakes -- they are everywhere! -- and the kids really enjoy looking for mistakes on their own and bringing them in to the class. It takes the fear out of grammar when they are charged with fixing a mistake someone else made. A friend just showed me this site:

http://snarkygrammarguide.blogspot.com/

I am going to use this blog in class as a teaching tool.

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srkell3 | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 13, 2010 at 1:19 PM (Answer #54)

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In reply to #1:  One of the many courses I teach is SAT Critical Reading and grammar is a major focus.  I found a wonderful website (www.chompchomp.com) that helps with the commom grammatical mistakes.  You might want to check it out.  It is a bit "cheesy" but it helps.

I will check out chompcomp.com -- thanks for the recommendation. I have just discovered The Snarky Student's Guide to Grammar: http://snarkygrammarguide.blogspot.com/ and will be using it with my students this year. They will love it.

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ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted August 19, 2010 at 2:07 PM (Answer #55)

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I'm glad I saw this post.  In our district, we're not allowed (you read that right--we're not allowed!) to teach grammar.  We have no grammar text, and the only kind of grammar instruction we're premitted to do is incidental--based, for example, on common errors in a round of essays. 

I understand that research shows that isolated grammar instruction doesn't effectively help students become better writers.  However, what should be a simple lesson (something like comma usage) doesn't work if students don't know the terms involved. 

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