Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Whatever happened to teaching grammar?

I always cringe at the start of each school year when I ask my 8th graders what a noun is and get a bunch of puzzled, blank stares. Verb? More stares. Adjective? More. Adverb? Now I must be from another planet.

The de-emphasis on grammar instruction in our K-12 language arts classrooms is disturbing, disappointing, and unacceptable. We are raising a generation of obedient test-takers rather than creative, critical thinkers who can read, write, listen, speak, and interpret ideas/concepts well. Grammar and writing are SO devalued  in today's classrooms that it is no surprise college professors are appalled with the poor writing skills of incoming college freshmen, even at select colleges and universities.

What, then, can we do to change this horrible, depressing phenomenon? It's simple. We need to make a determined, honest commitment to our students to incorporate solid grammar and writing instruction into our curriculums and daily lesson plans. We need to teach them how to write a good sentence, how to use each part of speech well, and, of course, how to diagram a sentence. Can you remember doing that? Maybe not. And that is a real shame.

Grammar does not have to be a boring, tedious, or obligatory part of our English lessons. Instead, it can be fun, informative, and relative to our students' lives. It can be taught in a student-centered, hands-on format that challenges students to think outside their comfort zones and start considering why we write the way we do -- and choose the words we do to write.

One gem of an article I've recently found that encourages just this kind of grammar instruction considers the same end goal -- How do I help my students with their writing, and how can grammatical skills help them get there? See what you can incorporate into tomorrow's lesson. An excerpt is below. For access to the full article, please visit:

Grammar without Grammar: Just Playing around, Writing

1 comment:

  1. Wow....there's a great idea! My daughter was NEVER taught grammar in high school but yet my son was....luck of the draw on teachers, I guess. The way she speaks now sends chills up my spine. "Me and Elaine are going to the movies tonight". Yikes! She is 23 and my son is 26. I think it is deplorable that grammar and diagramming sentences are not taught. How can you write decently without knowing the parts of speech?