15 Aug

Along with about 60 colleagues and I gathered yesterday to spend the day with TCRWP’s  Mary Ehrenworth. We’ve been fortunate in my school district over the last few years to have Mary come a few times. We have also been fortunate enough to have TCRWP trainers come to our schools for days at a time. I have loved every minute of it. And yet, when the email came a few days ago saying shed be talking about grammar, I can’t lie – my heart sank.

I should have known better.

Here are a few of the many things I learned.

  1. Kids master grammar. Then comes slippage. With exposure to the various ways people write on social media, students unlearn spelling and grammar rules. Mary said that 3rd graders have better skills in some areas than 8th graders, who have greater exposure to social media. We need to teach them to code switch and expose them to a high volume of accurate language.
  2. We can teach grammar in meaning full ways
    • Demonstration – a ten minute mini-lesson, once they have a draft they are invested in
    • Inquiry centers – 20-25 minutes once during a unit, once they have a draft they are invested in, so they can apply the skill to their draft RIGHT NOW!
  3. Extravaganza & Interludes – a way to study tricky grammar in which kids make tools for other units

We spent some time working together to create some Inquiry centers. My teaching partner and I made centers that focused on narrative paragraphs and writing dialogue. We thought the dialogue center would be helpful for that small group of student who wrote ONLY DIALOGUE in their narrative.

After this work, we broke for lunch. Mary packs a lot into a morning.

In the afternoon we looked at teaching verb tense by looking at the movement of time. Mary taught some mini-lessons and we learned ways to have kids create timelines  for fiction and non-fiction, through read-alouds and shared reading.

Needless to say, even though I am sad that summer vacation is almost over,  I am now excited to get back to school and apply what I learned.



5 Responses to “Kickstarting”

  1. lmazinas August 15, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    Thanks for sharing these tips. It’s so wonderful to get new inspiration right before the start of the year!

  2. arjeha August 15, 2017 at 10:37 am #

    This sounds great. I had noticed a decline in students using correct grammar during my last years of teaching. Of course, I have also noticed this downward spiral in adults as well.

  3. marc-aureled August 15, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

    What a wonderful way to kick off your year! I appreciate your honest reaction about grammar… it’s so hard to get it to stick and not all that exciting to work with. Thank you for sharing great ideas!

  4. Lisa Corbett August 15, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

    The best kinds of PD are those that get me excited to get back to work! I have one on August 30 and I am counting on it to get me excited.

  5. Brian Rozinsky August 15, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

    I liked the notion of ‘slippage’ as an expected part of learning’s dynamic path. One to be planned for. Feels to me like an unavoidable counter-force to growth mindsets — opposite, but not equal.

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