Grammar is the capitalization, sentences, punctuation, parts of speech, agreement and tenses, and reference materials of a piece of writing. It is the system or structure of a language. Grammar is often categorized as the ‘rules’ of a language. It is a set of instructions that explain how words are used in a language. In the article by Fredrick (2015) it states, “Writing simply would not be writing without the rules that shape words and string together sentences into fluid paragraphs and comprehensible arguments.” Without grammar, written words would be hard to decode and fully understand the meaning of the words. Fredrick (2015) further states, “Correct grammar serves explicit and implicit functions that extend to how people structure their thoughts.” Grammar is often associated with revising and editing. Revising is the improvement of writing while editing is the correction of writing. Grammar has also been linked to comprehension. In the article by Shanahan (2014) it says, “Studies over the years have shown a clear relationship between syntactic or grammatical sophistication and reading comprehension; that is, as students learn to employ more complex sentences in their oral and written language, their ability to make sense of what they read increases, too.” Overall, grammar is important because it helps shape our thoughts in a clear and concise way so that others may comprehend what we want to make known.
- Vocabulary terms with definitions:
Encoding: The process of when one’s own thoughts are written into words.
Declarative sentences are sentences that provide information or ideas.
Example: Scott went outside to play.
Imperative sentences are sentences that state a command, desire, request, or wish.
Example: Bring me food.
Exclamatory sentences are sentences that express strong emotions or commands.
Example: Ella jumped for joy!
Interrogative sentences are sentences that ask a question.
Example: How old are you?
Noun: A word used to identify a person, place or thing.
Example: Sarah went to the store.
Pronoun: A word that may substitute a noun.
Example: She went to the store.
Verb: A word that describes the action of a sentence.
Example: Ben jumped over the fence.
Adverb: A word that describes the verb.
Example: She quickly ran across the street.
Adjective: A word that describes the noun.
Example: The freezing snow fell to the ground.
Preposition: A word that connects the noun (or pronoun) to a verb or adjective.
Example: John sat on the fence.
Conjunction: A word that connects the sentence.
Example: Courtney played outside and went on the swing.
Interjection: A word that shows an emotion or feeling and can usually stand alone or be placed at the beginning or end of a sentence.
- Revising is the improvement of the writing. It includes ideas, organization, word choice and voice from the six traits of writing. Revising follows drafting and it is before the editing stage in the writing process. In this stage, the writer reviews and alters his or her writing in order to make the message clear for the reader. Often, the teacher or another peer will look over the student’s draft and provide feedback using revision symbols that will help the writer create a better writing piece.
Example of revision symbols: retrieved from google images.
- Editing is the punctuation, commas, spelling, sentence structure, grammar, and word usage of the written text. It follows the revising stage and is before the publishing stage of the writing process. In the editing stage, the writer corrects errors in his or her writing in order to improve it. The teacher or another peer may look at the writing and use editing symbols to provide feedback to the writer. By doing this, the writer knows what he or she can correct in order to make the writing better.
Example of editing symbols: retrieved from google images.
- The six areas of grammar include capitalization, sentences, punctuation, parts of speech, agreement and tenses, and reference materials. Some of the rules for capitalization include capitalizing the letter ‘I’, the beginning of a sentence, names of people, places and holidays, months and days of the week, and titles of books, games, programs or people. A sentence has to be a complete sentence; it must contain at least one noun and one verb. Punctuation includes the use of periods, commas, question marks, exclamation marks, quotation marks, as well as other items. Parts of speech include the noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. Agreement and tenses include having plural nouns with singular verbs or singular nouns with plural verbs as well as other things. Lastly, reference materials is when the writer properly makes known the source of where he or she obtained the information.
- Research/Instructional approaches: In the article by Concordia University’s website (2012) it states, “Research shows that learning grammar like this, in isolation from reading and writing, does not work well.” Grammar should be explicitly taught with writing in order for students to grasp the concept of grammar. The article further states,
- “Teaching grammar as a subject in isolation from writing is not effective.
- Students learn nothing about the use of grammar by diagramming sentences.
- Learning to identify parts of speech does not improve the quality of a student’s writing.
- Studying grammar in isolation does not help students avoid grammatical errors in their writing.
- Teaching grammar as grammar is not helpful and takes up classroom time that could be better spent reading and writing.”
Based on the information from this article, grammar should be taught with reading and writing. It is also important to note that drills do not work when teaching grammar. Mark Pennington who is a reading specialist goes into further detail about an instructional approach that hinders writing. Pennington (2009) explains how Daily Oral Language (D.O.L) is not an effective technique to teach grammar yet it is one of the most popular instructional techniques used by teachers. He lists reasons why Daily Oral Language should not be used, “D.O.L. is proofreading, not sentence construction, D.O.L. is implicit, part to whole instruction, divorced from any meaningful writing context, D.O.L. doesn’t teach the whys and hows of grammar and mechanics.” Pennington continues to list reasons upon reasons on why not to use Daily Oral Language as a teaching strategy. When considering strategies that improve grammar, there are multiple strategies that can be used. In the article by Concordia University’s website (2012) it states that effective grammar strategies include using reading and writing, working on the writing process, student self-assessment of their own work, sentence combining, using literature for grammar, and teaching mini-lessons to the students such as where and how to place a comma.
- Artifact: retrieved from google images.
- Visual of the writing process: retrieved from google images.
- Sentence Combining. This strategy helps the students combing two or more short sentences into one sentence. The teacher will first explain how to combine two sentences into one. An example the teacher may use would be, “The girl was hungry,” and “The girl was tired.” The sentences could be combined into one sentence to make, “The girl was hungry and tired.” Another example would be, “The weather was nice,” and “The boys played outside.” The sentence could be combined into, “The weather was nice so the boys played outside.” After demonstrating, the teacher can hand out to every student short sentences that can be combined into one sentence. The students can practice combining sentences and the teacher will walk around the room offering guidance. (Reading Rockets, Sentence Combining).
- Identifying the Types of Sentences. In this strategy, the teacher will explain how to identify declarative, imperative, exclamatory and interrogative types of sentences. The teacher will first explain that declarative sentences provide information or ideas and the sentence ends with a period. Imperative sentences state a command, desire, wish or request and they usually end with a period but also can end with an exclamation point. In exclamatory sentences, it expresses strong emotions or commands. These sentences end with an exclamation point. Lastly, interrogative sentences ask a question and end with a question mark. After the teacher explains the types of sentences and gives examples to the students, the teacher will give the students a passage to read. The students will identify the type of sentences in the passage by making shapes around the punctuation at the end of a sentence. The students can circle the punctuation mark if they believe it is a declarative sentence. They can draw a square around the punctuation if they believe it is an imperative sentence. For an exclamatory sentence the students can draw a star at the end of the sentence. If the students believe the sentence is an interrogative sentence then they can draw a triangle at the end of the sentence. It is important that the teacher gives the students a passage that is at their reading level and contains all or most of the types of sentences. (Four Types of Sentences and the Effect of Punctuation).
- Writing the Different Types of Sentences. The different types of sentences include declarative sentences, imperative sentences, exclamatory sentences and interrogative sentences. The first step of this strategy is for the teacher to remind or reteach the different types of sentences to the students. Declarative sentences provide information or ideas and the sentence ends with a period and imperative sentences state a command, desire, wish or request and they usually end with a period but also can end with an exclamation point. Exclamatory sentences express strong emotions or commands and usually end in a period but can also end with an exclamation point. Interrogative sentences ask a question and end with a question mark. After reviewing, the teacher will hand out blank pieces of paper to the students. Each student will have to write one or two sentences of each type of sentence. (Four Types of Sentences and the Effect of Punctuation).
- Brainstorming/Drafting/Revising. The students will first receive a blank piece of paper where they will brainstorm ideas they would like to write about and create a concept map with those ideas. After the teacher has given the students enough time to brainstorm, he or she will give the students one half piece of notebook paper for the students to write on. The teacher will instruct the students to make a dot on every other line. The dots is where the students will write so they have enough space to revise and edit when they get to that portion of the writing process. The students will then write on the notebook paper using the ideas from their concept map. Whenever a student needs another piece of paper, the student will put his or her hand on their head so the teacher can give the student another piece of paper. After the students have had adequate time to work on their writing, the teacher will collect their writing pieces. Once a few days have passed, the students can view their writings. The students will partner up and switch each other’s writing. One student will read another student’s writing and offer revising suggestions such as to use more descriptive words, rewrite a sentence so that it is better understood, add another sentence to explain more, or other suggestions. The student’s will then switch roles. (Strategy obtained from Dr. Bendix’s EDUC 329 class 2017).
- Pair Editing. In this activity, the students will first work individually on editing a piece of writing. The writing passage will contain multiple errors in which the students will correct. Before having the students edit the writing piece, the teacher will remind the students of the components of editing. Editing includes punctuation, commas, spelling, sentence structure, grammar, and word usage. After the teacher reviews each of these components, the students will start working on editing the piece of writing provided by the teacher. After about ten to fifteen minutes, the teacher will have the students pair up and compare each other’s work. Some students may have more edits than other students. The students can work together and discuss the reason why they made the changes to the writing. (Hopkins, J. 2017).
A worksheet that may be used for this strategy: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/TM/WS_lp334-04a-download.pdf
- Website: https://www.funbrain.com/grammar/
Name of website: Funbrain
This website has the students work on their grammar skills by having them select the correct word, such as an adverb or noun, in the given sentence. The website also provides examples of adjectives, adverbs, and many other types of words, in a sentence so that students can better understand and identify the types of words. I would use this website in my future classroom after reviewing pronouns, nouns, verbs, adverbs, and other types of words. The students could then see examples of these types of words that are used in the sentences and they can practice identifying them. By practicing to identify the types of words, the students will build on their grammar skills.
- Name of App: Grammar Patch
This app works on students’ grammar by having the students select the correct word for a given sentence. After selecting the correct word, the sentence scrambles and the student reorganizes the sentence. This will help student in their grammar skills as it teaches them how to organize a sentence and use proper words in a sentence. I have used this app multiple times with my students and it has helped their grammar in their writing.
- Name of App: Grammar Express: Parts of Speech Lite
In this app, the student identifies the nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections in different sentences. It also has the student practice replacing an incorrect word with a correct word. This app will help students develop an understanding of the different types of words that fill a sentence. It will expand on their understanding of grammar and help them write better sentences.
- Name of App: Grammar for Kids – Learn Parts of Speech
This app is intended for younger children who are working on identifying the nouns and verbs in a sentence. It gives the student a sentence in which the student identifies the noun or verb. This works on the student’s grammar as it helps them recognize the parts that make up a sentence and can help them write better sentences.
Effectively Teaching Grammar: What Works (and What Doesn’t Work). (2012). Concordia University. Retrieved from: http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/curriculum-instruction/teaching-grammar-what-works-and-what-doesnt/
Four Types of Sentences and the Effect of Punctuation. (n.d.). Time 4 Writing. Retrieved from: http://www.time4writing.com/writing-resources/types-of-sentences-and-punctuation/
Fredrick, N. (2015). The Professional Importance of Grammar and How it Should be Taught. PIT Journal. Retrieved from: http://pitjournal.unc.edu/article/professional-importance-grammar-and-how-it-should-be-taught
Hopkins, J. (2017). Pair Editing. Education World. Retrieved from: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/04/lp334-04.shtml
Pennington, M. (2009). Why Daily Oral Language (D.O.L.) Doesn’t Work. Pennington Publishing Blog. Retrieved from: http://blog.penningtonpublishing.com/grammar_mechanics/why-daily-oral-language-d-o-l-doesnt-work/
Sentence Combining. (n.d.). Reading Rockets. Retrieved from: http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/sentence_combining
Shanahan, T. (2014). Grammar and Comprehension: Scaffolding Student Interpretation of Complex Sentences. The Center for Development and Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.cdl.org/articles/grammar-and-comprehension-scaffolding-student-interpretation-of-complex-sentences/