Summertime is a great time for teachers and principals to participate in professional development. Today I'm sharing an eBook teachers can download and read this summer to improve their grammar and writing instruction in the elementary grade levels.
We integrate writing into different content areas, including language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics. We encourage students to write for different purposes and authentic audiences. We introduce students to diverse forms of writing: letters, reports, stories, poetry, and articles. And we guide students through the writing process, which includes prewriting/planning, drafting, revising, and editing.
The writing process is recursive and flexible. Some of our students prefer to draft, revise, and edit their writing simultaneously. As these students write their first draft, they revise by refining their ideas and changing words and sentences, and they edit by checking their spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Other students, however, choose to write a complete draft of their ideas before they revise and edit. These students like to revise their writing for ideas, organization, and word choice before they edit for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
Regardless of when students choose to attend to editing, we can help students improve their writing through mini-workshops on the conventions of written English. The term “conventions of written English” refers to grammar, usage, and mechanics. Grammar is usually defined as a set of rules that defines how a language is structured.
In the classroom context, “grammar” refers to the concepts of subject, verb, and sentence sense (parts of speech and parts of sentences). Usage includes concepts of agreement (subject-verb, noun-pronoun, and verb tense) and modification (adjectives and adverbs). Usage also addresses language variation in terms of word choice and phrasing (formal to informal, regional and social dialects, oral language as related to written language). Mechanics is commonly defined as spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
When we teach students how to edit for the conventions of written English, we show how their choices in grammar, usage, and mechanics contribute to—or detract from—the meaning of their writing. By teaching students to value both the content and the conventions of writing, we help students grow in their command of written language and improve their ability to communicate effectively with their intended audience.
In this eBook, Dr. Beverly Ann Chin outlines effective strategies for teaching grammar and writing to students in grades 3–5. Topics include: