Needed: Grammar 2.0
When I was in elementary school I LOVED the first day of school. Getting to wear a new outfit, carrying a new lunchbox, sitting down in a desk with a beautiful new nametag and a stack of textbooks I couldn't wait to get my hands on! I imagine life was much easier for teachers back then. They knew exactly what they would teach and in what order. But...it was also much easier for advanced students (= boredom) and probably much harder for struggling students because there was no individualized teaching. Thank goodness we have come so far! Using the Readers' and Writers' workshop model I know I am teaching pertinent grade level content and strategies, but providing just as much time for small group work at each students' functioning level.
The sticking point for instruction now still seems to be English or Language Skills. There is so much research, writing and professional development done for Reading and Writing...I don't really understand why there is such a big void in the area of grammar. I did find one book of value last year, Mechanically Inclined, but that is it! EVERY year I have teachers come to me as a coach and say, "How do I teach the Language skills my students need and what materials do I use?" Everyone seems to love using Daily Oral Language because it is easy and it is quick. When did that become a valid criteria for effective instruction? Don't get me wrong...I'm the last one to throw stones...I've done things for the sake of quick and easy over the years - but I'd like to think it was because I didn't know what else would work better. I think that is exactly where we are at right now.
I don't know if this is nationwide problem - how to teach language authentically - or just a rut we are in here. I don't know if grammar, language skills are even taught in other countries. Do you???? I would really like to find a way to use blogging to teach these skills...