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Getting Great with Grammar. Please reflect on this question: How do you learn Grammar in the Classroom?. M. Born English 8 Abbotsford Middle School. What is grammar, and why should we teach it?. Grammar is…. We should teach it because…. Simply put: the rules of a language

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getting great with grammar

Getting Great with Grammar

Please reflect on this question:

How do you learn Grammar in the Classroom?

M. Born

English 8

Abbotsford Middle School

what is grammar and why should we teach it
What is grammar, and why should we teach it?

Grammar is…

We should teach it because…

  • Simply put: the rules of a language
  • Includes Sentence Fluency and Conventions
  • In school, we teach the grammar of “Standard English,” but some students come with other grammars as well.
  • Students often struggle with conventions and sentence fluency
  • Students need to learn how to take written work to the next level
  • Mastering the rules of Standard English give students academic opportunities as well as cultural capital
so what does it look like to learn grammar in context
So, what does it look like to learn grammar in context?

Quick Write Rules:

  • Write the whole time: DOUBLE SPACE
  • Experiment with spelling, quotations and grammar
  • Go where ever your writing takes you
  • “You are free to write the worst junk in America.”

- Natalie Goldberg

From Mechanically Inclined by Jeff Anderson

Quick Write (15 min): Pick a moment in your classroom. Describe it in vivid detail.

“All they do, these two tired people, is plod through life, struggling to find a word to say to each other.”--pg. 53 “The Edge” (Joan)

What’s working?

“Adjectival Interruption”

more examples of a i s
More examples of A.I.s

“Haymitch Abernathy, a paunchy, middle-aged man, who at this moment appears hollering something unintelligible, staggers onto the stage.” From The Hunger Games by Suzann Colins

“Tony, his drinking partner, puts his hand over the pint glass.” pg. 54-The Edge by Alan Gibbons (Chris)

“Down there, in the cramped terraced house, he has to watch his words.” pg. 55 – The Edge by Alan Gibbons (Danny)

“She bends her head, as if trying to put her face right in front of his, to read his expression.” pg. 91 – The Edge by Alan Gibbons (Danny)

add an interruption to this sentence 5 min
Add an interruption to this sentence: 5 min

The child reached under her desk.

A single paperclip landed at my feet.

try it yourself 15 minutes
Try it yourself: 15 minutes

1. Re-read your Quick-Write, and apply what you learned. You should:

2. Find a simple sentence in your Quick Write and ADD an interruption. Highlight it.

3. Find a sentence you already wrote that follows this pattern. Highlight it.

4. Write a new sentence that follows this pattern to add to your writing.

  • Read your best sentence to your table partners.
using dialogue quotes what are the rules
Using Dialogue (Quotes): What are the rules?

Danny feels more than a twinge of anxiety. “Your name’s Parker, isn’t it?” he says in a second attempt to break the ice.

“That’s right, Steven Parker. You?”

“Danny Mangam.”

There isn’t a flicker of expression. No Hi Danny, no introductory banter, no warmth.

“I’ll see you around then,” says Danny, with forced brightness. He turns and sets off on his run.

“Yes,” says Steven Parker. “See you around.”

-From The Edge by Alan Gibbons pg. 51 - Danny

student generated models
Student-generated models

Using the rules and patterns we noticed…

  • Create/find a short piece of dialogue that demonstrates as many of the rules and patterns as possible.
  • Write your example scrap paper to post on the chart.
apply it to your writing 15 min
Apply it to your writing: 15 min.
  • Re-read your Quick-Write, and apply what you learned. Please;

1. Revise the dialogue/Quotations in your writing so that it follow the rules

2. Highlight dialogue/Quotations that already follow the rules

3. Add New dialogue/Quotationsto your writing

  • Find a table partner, and share a part of your writing that includes dialogue.
“Instinctively, Des looks up the street at the darkness into which the three boys fled.” The Edge by Alan Gibbons – pg. 119 (Danny)

What do you notice?

More examples from The Edge…

  • “Curiously, Danny finds himself defending old Grumbleguts.” pg. 119
  • “Finally, the old man walks out of the room leaving her and Danny on their own.” pg. 123 (Cathy)
what s the rule
What’s the Rule?

Generate a name for this pattern and rules to use it:

  • Start with an –ing word
  • The –ing word describes the subject of the sentence
  • Use a comma before the main part of the sentence
  • It can be just a word, or a phrase starting with -ing
Mix and MatchCombine components from columns A and B to make sentences. Pay attention to punctuation!

Column A

Column B

glancing nervously around


stuffing it in the tattered bag


searching for a familiar face

I crossed the street

she tried to forget what the letter said.

the child kept to the edges of the group.

he reached for the box on the highest shelf.

the driver tried to act casual.

you try it 10 min
You Try It: 10 min.
  • Using the same sentence patterns, revise your own writing. You should…
      • Revise sentences so that they follow the same pattern.
      • Highlight sentences that already follow this pattern
      • Add sentences that use this pattern
  • Read your best sentence to your table partners.
strategy 3 sentence puzzles
Strategy 3: Sentence puzzles

How it works

  • Teacher finds sentences from literature that follow a particular pattern to teach.
  • Teacher breaks up these sentences in a uniform way.
  • Students mix and match sentence parts to construct new examples.
  • Students use these examples to make their own examples.

What other skills could you teach this way?

what will you take back
What will you take back?
  • Turn and talk; reflective writing
  • Share out.
  • Mechanically InclinedbyJeff Anderson
  • Grammar Plan Book by Constance Weaver
  • Sentence Composing Worktextby Don Killgallon