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Arming Students With Grammar Survival Skills. By: Frances Crawford Fennessy Department of English Sam Houston State University Writing Project Huntsville, Texas (2005). graduate student in the English department at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas

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arming students with grammar survival skills

Arming StudentsWith Grammar Survival Skills

By: Frances Crawford Fennessy

Department of English

Sam Houston State University

Writing Project

Huntsville, Texas (2005)

about frances crawford fennessy

graduate student in the English department at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas

teach junior and senior level English at Heritage Christian Academy in Huntsville, Texas

teach developmental English to freshmen at Sam Houston State University

CRLA certified master tutor of writing at Sam Houston State University for three years

currently conducting research regarding measuring

grammar teaching methods and their translation to

application for my thesis

About Frances Crawford Fennessy:

it s a jungle out there
It’s a Jungle Out There:
  • designed for usage in middle school, junior high, and high school classrooms
  • particularly useful for freshmen in college
  • not meant only for language arts classrooms; it can be adapted to accommodate any writing enhanced course
identifying the objective
Identifying the objective:
  • to help students make sense of the grammar knowledge they already possess
  • to arm students with enough grammar knowledge that they will be able to survive their high school and college writing assignments
getting a solid start
Getting a solid start:
  • Patrick Hartwell’s five-pronged definition of grammar:
    • The grammar in our heads
    • Linguistic science
    • Linguistic etiquette rules
    • School grammar
    • Stylistic grammar
in the beginning
In the beginning…
  • each student should have a short period of time, perhaps five to ten minutes, to write in a journal
slide18

Why would someone

want to assault me?

You might ask:

It’s not you. It’s your comma splice that they are after.

slide19

What’s a comma

splice?

It’s a misplaced

comma.

slide20

Any more words

of advice?

YES!

slide22

Bee…cause! We don’t usually

need commas!

Why?

I do not want a comma because I do not need one!

slide24

A complete sentence has a subject and a verb.

Without them, you may find yourself wet and miserable.

slide25

A noun is:

place

A verb is:

an action word

person

thing

sits

The man sits on the rock.

slide26

A complete sentence needs a subject and a verb.

This lazy lion lounges on the ground.

slide29

Sentences can be very long.

a period works well, but a semi-colon is great too!

They can be short too.

slide30

;

If you want to connect two sentences together, you can simply use a semicolon.

This elephant follows.

This elephant leads.

This elephant follows; this elephant leads.

slide31

but

nor

and

or

for

yet

so

If you come across a FANBOYSJOINING 2 COMPLETE SENTENCES, be sure to leave him a comma.

I am lost in the jungle.

I hope I run into this man soon.

I am lost in the jungle and hope I run into this man soon.

slide32

Grammar Survival Skills

but

nor

or

and

for

yet

so

Get your comma out of there!

for

and

nor

but

or

yet

so

comma here

because…..

FANBOYS

This elephant follows; this elephant leads.

Subject + verb,

Subject + verb

;

By Frances Crawford Fennessy

What is a

comma splice?

It’s a

misplaced

comma

slide33

What is a

dangling

modifier?

You might find yourself in an awkward situation while venturing through the jungle. Perhaps you will be confronted with a dangling modifier.

slide34

Is this a

dangling

modifier?

slide35

I really don’t have time for this right now!

A dangling modifier is a word or phrase apparently modifying an unintended word because of its placement in a sentence.

slide37

While flying over the lake,

While flying over the lake, the man shot his arrow at the ducks.

Who is flying?

slide40

Another thing to think about:

What happens if you hyperventilate?

slide41

If you don't know, don't go!

A final word of advice:

If you are not sure about the comma, do not put it there!

why i think this lesson is important
Why I think this lesson is important:
  • At least 50% of college instructors of English DO NOT teach grammar.
  • At least 90% of college instructors penalize students who do not use “proper grammar.”
  • Students are counting on their teachers to make sure they have the grammar skills they need. YOU are their last stop.
to further support those statements
To further support those statements:
  • ACT National Curriculum Survey
  • April, 2003
    • Groups of writing skills that college instructors believe are most important for entering college students to have –grammar and usage skills– are considered to be least important by high school teachers.
the theory that supports it
The theory that supports it:
  • William Labov says that hypercorrection is a misapplication of an imperfectly learned rule.
  • Mnemonics is a memory device that can be traced as far back as Aristotle.
  • Moffet asserts that students learn through a procedure described as the I-You-It process.
rei noguchi
Rei Noguchi:
  • teaching minimal grammar is necessary to improve student writing
  • minimal grammar refers to a manageable collection of a select few rules
  • grammar should be used as an editing tool tool
slide46

Aristotle. Aristotle on Rhetoric: A Civic Discourse. Ed. George A Kennedy. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991.

Hartwell, Patrick. “Grammar, Grammars and the Teaching of Grammar.” College English 47 (1985): 105-27.

Labov, William. Sociolinguistic Patterns. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1972.

Moffett, James. A Student-Centered Language Arts Curriculum, Grades K-6, A Handbook for Teachers. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1968.

Noguchi, Rei. Grammar and the Teaching of Writing: Limits and Possibilities. Urbana: NCTE, 1991.

“Survey Shows Writing Skills Most Important to College Teachers Not Always Emphasized in High School Instruction.” ACT Newsroom. 8 April 2003. ACT, Inc. 14 June 2004. http://www.act.org/news/releases/2003/4-08-03.html.

Supporting Bibliography: