Well y’all, today is the day I go back to school! This morning all of the teachers, custodians, secretaries, etc. from every building in our district (that’s like, 15 schools or something) gather in one of the local mega-churches for a morning of celebration. It’s kind of cool to see everyone in one place, but honestly, the whole time we’re all wishing we could be in our rooms preparing for kids!
Anyway, this week my Friday Faves revolve everyone’s favorite topics: vocabulary and grammar! Wait, that’s not your favorite? Yeah, mine neither. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty terrible at teaching both of these things. The focus for the week came to me while driving to a friend’s house on Monday because I listened to Jennifer Gonzalez’s latest podcast. As soon as she started talking about grammar, I knew I had to round up the best things I’ve read lately.
So, here you go! I’d write more, but I’m too tired just thinking about going back to school!
How to Deal with Student Grammar Errors from Cult of Pedagogy
This is the one that sparked this whole post. Jennifer presents a lot of research supporting the idea that grammar must not be taught in isolation. The drill and kill style doesn’t work (sorry!). Grammar (and by this she means basically that makes writing sound good) must be taught in context with writing. I love her solution to meeting everyone’s needs in this department. Basically, the teacher curates a bunch of resources for common grammar issues and creates a database that is easy for students to access so they can go to those specific lessons when they are struggling. Listen to the podcast or read the article; it’s good stuff!
Latin Word Chunks from Erica Beaton via Dave Stuart Jr.
Erica presents not only some great ideas, but research from leading educators (Schmoker, one of my faves!) supporting the teaching of the most common Latin word parts. She then breaks down the process so you can see exactly how she does it! (I love when they do that!). This is a great post for people looking for better ways to teach vocab. This method would allow your students to tackle really difficult words because they’d know the roots (etc.). AND you can buy the lists and quizzes and everything!!
How do you authentically support and assess vocabulary? From Movingwriters.org
In this post, the ladies at Moving Writers (Time out: you’ve read Writing with Mentors: How to Reach Every Writer in the Room Using Current, Engaging Mentor Texts, right? Because if not, you really must. And this is an affiliate link but I only share things I LOVE) have put together a great piece about how we need to focus on teaching the vocabulary student, not the vocabulary. They start with a list of what real readers do when it comes to tough vocabulary. I know that I want my kids to become “real readers”, which to me means they need to learn to do all of the things we do when we’re reading a book for our own pleasure (or for learning). I really like the methods for assessing vocabulary grown that the author presents. The ideas here are not the norm and would definitely fit if you’re trying to be a bit more innovative this year.
Everything your Brain Should Know about Teaching Grammar from todd-finley.com
Finley presents some reasons for changing how we teach grammar. If you don’t need convinced of this, check out the many resources he provides!
Grammar Fail pictures from Laura Randazzo
I love using these. They are highly entertaining and let us give kids a little insight into WHY grammar is so important!