Thursday, July 11, 2013

National Writing Project Day #4, Rethinking Grammar & A WInner!

Today at the UW-M Writing Project, we heard a wonderful presentation by fellow participant, Michelle, about teaching grammar skills within writing and not as a separate subject.

How do you teach grammar? 

As a separate subject or within writing? 

Do you use worksheets or student writing to teach grammar skills?

Michelle presented a very convincing case for teaching grammar skills within the context of writing and not as a separate subject.  It has shown that students who learn grammar through worksheets  or DOL-type activities generally do not transfer those skills over to their writing.

So how can you teach grammar in your writing block?

  • Carefully analyze student work to see which skills are lacking.  Let these observations inform your instruction.

  • Use mentor texts to study the use of grammar such as prepositional phrases, adjectives, or strong verbs.  Discuss how these grammar concepts contribute to the quality of the writing.

  • Use your own writing (through modeling) to demonstrate the good use of grammar and how it contributes to the message you are trying to communicate.

With less and less time in our day and more and more things we need to teach, it makes sense to teach grammar in an authentic, relatable way by incorporating it into our writing time.  Just think of all the natural mini-lessons that will emerge!

I'd love to hear what you think about teaching grammar!

I'd also like to congratulate Lizzy for winning my Rafflecopter contest!  Lizzy has won a $10 Amazon gift card and one of my Writer's Notebook Divider Page packs.  Thanks to everyone for entering!

Tomorrow, I am presenting my BIG  inquiry project (75 minutes -- Yikes!!) on how to use mentor texts to revise writing.  I hope you will check back this weekend for the details.  I'm off to put the finishing touches on my Powerpoint!  Wish me luck!!!


  1. I can't wait to hear about how your presentation goes! I am sure you will be great!

  2. Goodluck tomorrow! I do teach grammar separately from writing. I usually do two weeks of grammar and then two weeks of writing. I am really going to put some thought into how I can incorporate grammar within writing. I am always short of time and integrating it would definitely make use of my instructional time.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Shepherd's Shining Stars

  3. Good luck tomorrow!


  4. Woot Woot! Thanks for the prizes!
    I teach grammar with all of the ideas that you mentioned in your post plus I use the ScootPad app daily with my students! LOVE IT!

    Thanks so much!
    Lizzy from *The Teacher Chick*

  5. I couldn't agree more about using authentic writing to teach grammar. Plus, mentor texts are much more fun than DOL activities.

    Good luck in your presentation!

    Fit to be Fourth

  6. I haven't taught writing in a three years, but I'll be doing it again next year. I am an absolute believer that, like anything else, the more you practice it, the better you get. So my kids write all the time, and I teach grammar within that. I find DOL's and stuff like that a waste of valuable time. I don't see kids make any transition from those to their own writing.
    Can you tell I feel a little strongly about this? :)


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