This week for Mechanically Inclinded I really liked the Kira-Kira cloze activity (108). It is just like a Mad-Lib and they are really enjoyable, so students would really get into the activity. Unlike a Mad-Lib he removed the pronouns specific to the lesson, so students are becoming more aware…
I viewed the podcast, Ending a Sentence in a Preposition because my husband is on my case all the time about this rule that I either forget or ignore. However, I need to go find the one you viewed. Spell check flags me constantly on my usage of passive voice and I try to revise my writing but it never works. I decided I’m just a passive person who cannot shake that persona even in my writing.
The Mad-Lib tactic is indeed an excellent way to engage students in grammar lessons. With using just one paragraph Anderson was able to make several different lessons. Because the outline of the text is consistent students are able to spend their time correcting the verb into past or present tense and less time trying to understand what the text is saying. I still have problems taking paragraphs and making all verbs in the correct tense. I must re-read things several times to find the errors. As I pointed out in my post, allowing students to talk through the verb tense in groups helps greatly. I cannot always read something and tell if it is correct but when I say it out-loud improper grammar becomes apparent.
I am not sure about anyone else but I spent a great deal of time looking up the definitions to intransitive, transitive, and auxiliary verbs. According to the appalling score I received on the Orwell handout, 15 out of 25 correct, it can be concluded I didn’t do well on comprehending the material. I will continue to work on my understanding of these as well as the multitude of other types of verbs. Honestly I had no idea there were so many “types”.
While reading Mechanically Inclined I reflected on my own writing. In the past I was guilty of using pronouns so often the noun became ambiguous and I was lost reading my own material. Not only do I see the errors I make with pronouns but with tense shift as well. I see I need to spend more time writing and checking myself. Practice can only help.
Once again, Anderson does a fine job of outlining lessons that are easy to apply in a middle school setting. One reoccurring theme is he allows students to work together to figure out the material before they tackle it on their own. I find this practice very meaningful to students. It is different from how my middle school educators taught me. We were never allowed to work in groups and I feel isolation does nothing to help build your understanding. We are speaking of language and most individuals do not converse with themselves, so why do so many educators feel that oral practice in not necessary? Anderson allows his students to work together, sounding out the verbs and deciding which verbs sound correct. This also helps students with a dialect practice in a controlled environment that reinforces proper usage. I think this is one of the biggest problems students face. I know many members of my family have very poor grammar skills. My mother once told me that when she was younger she did everything she could to speak proper English. However, when she spoke with other classmates they ridiculed her for sounding too proper. I know this is a problem many students face and it is hard to encourage them to use proper grammar when they are made fun of for doing so.
Using films such as the 20/20 Linguistic Profiling, I hope students are able to see some of the obstacles they will need to overcome. While it is wrong for individuals to profile based on the way people sound it still happens all the time.
As a final note, while looking at the images in the Mechanically Inclined text I see that not only will I need ample amounts of butcher paper but sticky notes as well.