English teachers, your thoughts on grammar

Discussion in 'General Education' started by eddygirl, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Jun 27, 2012

    At my high school, we use a grammar book as part of our English curriculum. Over the years, we've used three different books that all have chapters arranged the same: grammar first (parts of speech and sentences, phrases and clauses), usage second (verbs, pronouns, modifiers), then mechanics last (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).

    In the past, each English teacher on our level has covered the chapters whenever they wanted to during the year. Some would start at the first chapter, and some would skip around. Now that we are trying to create common assessments, we have to work out a plan to cover the same chapters in the same semester.

    If you have a similar grammar book and are expected to teach the chapters, what order do you choose and why? Do you think certain topics should be taught before others? Your opinions are appreciated.
     
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  3. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Common assessment! With English Teachers !Oh My!!!
    Good luck.
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Is your state going CommonCore? The language standards for CommonCore have some alignment built in. Might be worth starting there to help guide organization decisions.
     
  5. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    ku alum, we are a private school, so I don't think we have to follow Common Core exactly (yet), but that is a good idea. However, I looked at the "Common Core State Standards" website and I'm not finding any type of timeline. If you know of one, can you direct me to the site? Thanks! :)
     
  6. drooping_cactus

    drooping_cactus Rookie

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    Why not just follow the order in the book? No need to reinvent the wheel when it has already been organized for you! Also, it would be simpler that way too. Everyone could just agree to teach chapters 1-3 by the end of quarter 1, chapters 4-6 by winter break, and so forth. :)

    With that being said, I'm brand new to teaching English, so take what I say with a grain of salt! :haha:
     
  7. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Still unfettered here. I don't use the grammar book at all - in fact, we didn't order any when we bought new LA books. I have an old class set and a single class set of the new book was included in the shipment. Good luck!
     
  8. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    I work at a private school as well. When I started the previous teacher had created her own curriculum to follow. She started with the last chapter, then slowly did a writing chapter, then back to a nouns, then writing, verbs, writing, etc. You get the idea. The first chapter was capitalization and punctuation. In a sense I agreed with what she did, why start with nouns if these students didn't know how to write a sentence.

    Last year we got a new book, and that book has parts of a sentence first and different types of a sentence. I agree with that. I agree check out other curriculums including the common core and go from there. Every year I believe it depends on the level of your students.

    If I find the common core ELA for high school I'll send it to you. HOwever, from the workshops I went to for common core its more K-8th. High school simple "adds" on to it by grade level. Our school choose to opt out of it. Best wishes.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I agree with just following the order of the book as long as it makes sense. It's hard to teach kids that they have to use a comma to set off introductory prepositional phrases, if they don't know what a preposition is!
     
  10. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    It isn't that I don't teach grammar. I just don't use the book - it is boring. I do a lot of "discovery" work using mentor sentences and building their interactive notebook as we go along. By 8th grade these kids have been given the basics over and over. Now is the time to use that information to build their writing. I do use the lit text book, but I also use plenty of outside sources for basic skill review and to build on their basic knowledge of genre, character, etc. Their scores on the state exams have been fine - I usually have a few good surprise outcomes and the poor outcomes are the expected ones.
     
  11. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    :yeahthat:

    No one I know uses a grammar book. We use mentor sentences (and if you want, Jeff Anderson has some FANTASTIC books on the subject with REAL strategies you can use immediately), and lots of sentence combining when revising.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Grammar has been sadly ignored around here, from what I can tell. I've found kids who don't know the difference between a noun or pronoun. Forget about adjectives vs. adverbs. Let's get back to diagramming sentences so they can get a visual!
     
  13. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Actually, I thought grammar would come roaring back into the high school curriculum since the SAT Exam started including grammar sections a couple of years ago.

    :confused:
     
  14. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    I think that going in order of the book would be logical. I'm not required to follow any certain order or teach certain subject in grammar, I just go along with the standards and my book--our Lit. book is aligned with the state standards, so it's a great guide.

    What about teaching grammar within literature? If you read a short story or a poem--even a novel you could essentially teach grammar alongside it. You could use the text as your resource.
     
  15. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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  16. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Thanks, ku alum. This really offered some good insight for us.
     
  17. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I'm pretty excited about the CCSS. Right now, the SSS assume kids know all grammar by middle school. Our Scope & Sequence just says, "Mini grammar lessons as needed" and "Use of semicolons and colons."

    Well, it's really hard to do semicolon and colons when they don't know independent or dependent clauses or the parts of speech. So I do a mini review of parts of speech, types of sentences, and clauses in the first quarter, then go from there on what they need.
     
  18. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Has anyone use the Caught Ya' Grammar with a Giggle books? I just ordered on from Amazon.com--the middle school version, but from what I have read about those books online they seem pretty interesting and keep the kids engaged. It's basically a story that you read to the kids, but they are the ones who correct/change/manipulate the mechanics of the grammar. I'm not sure if I'll use it completely, but hey it sure beats what I have been doing--I get so bored with my usual grammar lessons :(
     
  19. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Thanks for all the great suggestions! We do use a lit. book (Common Core included) that has grammar built in, but if we only choose some of the passages, only certain aspects of grammar are covered. We also read 5-6 novels a year, so we don't have time to teach the whole lit. book. Having a grammar book to work from (which we cover completely) makes it easier to be sure all topics are presented.

    Our school is big on teaching grammar, which I agree with for two major reasons: 1) it is part of the ACT exam, and 2) our students are required to take 2 years of foreign language. I think it would be very difficult to figure out a foreign language if you didn't have an adequate grammar background in English.

    I have also found that many of our students speak in "non-standard" English; they don't even realize that the grammar they are using is incorrect. I teach freshmen, and every year I have to explain why "could of" and "must of" are not correct. An explanation of helping verbs vs. prepositions usually fixes that, but for some, it takes some time to sink in.
     
  20. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    I use the Blue Book of Grammar as a reference. Each section has a set of rules, and I put those into a powerpoint with a little review quiz at the end. I even made up a lil song about pronouns. The younger kids loved it, but the older ones said it was corney. :mad:
     
  21. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Just wanted to add that I find this website very helpful http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/ It explains some things very well. I used it for who/whom last year and most of my kids actually got it.
     
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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  23. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Our foreign language teachers are having a much harder time teaching foreign language now because the students do not have even the basic grasp of English grammar terms. Some may use grammar appropriately, but they don't know the terms or the reasons for the placement of the words. Many kids now learn English grammar, at least the basics and the tenses, in their foreign language classes. It is very sad.
     
  24. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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  25. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I second checking out Jeff Anderson! He has some great books on teaching grammar.
     
  26. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I thank you for teaching grammar at all! So many of my remedial community college students never had any kind of detailed grammar study, and their writing skills are atrocious.

    Poor grammar and spelling can negate even the best of intentions; let's all teach our students proper grammar skills, so their writing will be read and enjoyed, not skimmed and scorned.
     

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