Several years ago, it seems that “the education gods” told teachers that we didn’t need to teach grammar anymore. We could teach it individually in the papers that the students wrote. Unfortunately, the students have proven that they aren’t learning that way. There are several problems with this method: 1. Teachers can’t get the papers back in a timely manner with so many students in the class and so many papers to grade. 2. Unless it is a grade, most students won’t correct a paper. Heck, they won’t usually correct the paper even if it is a grade. 3. Even if they correct the paper, the student won’t study the mistakes and commit them to memory. So this week I decided to go retro…go old school.
This week, I had one of my classes study the parts of the sentence. My class is a 10th grade English class (World Literature). We divided the basic simple sentence between the subject and predicate, and then we circled the simple subject (noun) and the simple verb. My students struggled but were slowly starting to get the hang of it. Ladies and Gentlemen, these 15 year olds struggled. At the end of the week, they told me that they appreciated us stepping back in time to understand the sentence.
Next week, we will start on compound sentences, and the following week, we will focus on the complex sentence. I will teach them commas, semicolons, dependent clauses, coordinate conjunctions, subordinate conjunctions, and conjunctive adverbs. By the end of the next two weeks, they will know the basic parts of a sentence, how to punctuate it, and certainly how to write one.
We will also be writing a persuasive essay over the next several weeks. I will keep you updated on my class’s writing progress with basic grammar instruction. Tell me what you think. Should we go retro?