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Arming Students With Grammar Survival Skills By: Frances Crawford Fennessy Department of English Sam Houston State University Writing Project Huntsville,

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Presentation on theme: "Arming Students With Grammar Survival Skills By: Frances Crawford Fennessy Department of English Sam Houston State University Writing Project Huntsville,"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Arming Students With Grammar Survival Skills By: Frances Crawford Fennessy Department of English Sam Houston State University Writing Project Huntsville, Texas (2005)

3 graduate student in the English department at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas teach junior and senior level English at Heritage Christian Academy in Huntsville, Texas teach developmental English to freshmen at Sam Houston State University CRLA certified master tutor of writing at Sam Houston State University for three years currently conducting research regarding measuring grammar teaching methods and their translation to application for my thesis About Frances Crawford Fennessy:

4 designed for usage in middle school, junior high, and high school classrooms particularly useful for freshmen in college not meant only for language arts classrooms; it can be adapted to accommodate any writing enhanced course It’s a Jungle Out There:

5 Identifying the objective: to help students make sense of the grammar knowledge they already possess to arm students with enough grammar knowledge that they will be able to survive their high school and college writing assignments

6 Getting a solid start: Patrick Hartwell’s five-pronged definition of grammar: 1. The grammar in our heads 2. Linguistic science 3. Linguistic etiquette rules 4. School grammar 5. Stylistic grammar

7 In the beginning… each student should have a short period of time, perhaps five to ten minutes, to write in a journal

8 Be careful with assumptions!

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10 The world of grammar can seem as dangerous as traveling into a wild jungle.

11 However, you must remember that even wild beasts can be tamed.

12 It is essential to find a good guide to lead you through the safari.

13 Until that happens, a few survival skills will be helpful.

14 First, you must determine what gear you will need.

15 You might ask yourself, “What more do I need than camouflage, and my weapon?”

16 Perhaps you prefer to keep your questions hidden.

17 Just remember, upon closer examination, we all get caught.

18 Your silence is not a good weapon. It cannot protect you from an assault of the RED PEN.

19 Why would someone want to assault me? It’s not you. It’s your comma splice that they are after. You might ask:

20 What’s a comma splice? It’s a misplaced comma.

21 Any more words of advice? YES!

22 When you see a bee…(because), get your comma out of there!

23 Why? Bee…cause! We don’t usually need commas! I do not want a comma because I do not need one!

24 Remember you always need complete sentences.

25 Without them, you may find yourself wet and miserable. A complete sentence has a subject and a verb.

26 A noun is: person place thing A verb is: sits an action word The man sits on the rock.

27 A complete sentence needs a subject and a verb. This lazy lion lounges on the ground.

28 Like your shelters, not all sentences need your standard tools.

29 While you are concentrating on your complete sentences, remember that…

30 a period works well, but a semi- colon is great too! Sentences can be very long. They can be short too.

31 If you want to connect two sentences together, you can simply use a semicolon. This elephant follows.This elephant leads. This elephant follows; this elephant leads. ;

32 for and nor but or yet so If you come across a FANBOYS JOINING 2 COMPLETE SENTENCES, be sure to leave him a comma. I am lost in the jungle. I hope I run into this man soon. I am lost in the jungle and hope I run into this man soon.

33 for and nor but or yet so Subject + verb for and nor but or yet so Subject + verb, comma here What is a comma splice? It’s a misplaced comma because….. Get your comma out of there! This elephant follows ; this elephant leads. ; By Frances Crawford Fennessy

34 You might find yourself in an awkward situation while venturing through the jungle. Perhaps you will be confronted with a dangling modifier. What is a dangling modifier?

35 Is this a dangling modifier?

36 A dangling modifier is a word or phrase apparently modifying an unintended word because of its placement in a sentence. I really don’t have time for this right now!

37 While flying over the lake, the man shot his arrow at the ducks.

38 While flying over the lake, Who is flying? While flying over the lake, the man shot his arrow at the ducks.

39 Have you ever heard the rule about putting in a comma when you take a natural breath?

40 The problem with that rule is that we all breathe at different paces.

41 What happens if you hyperventilate? Another thing to think about:

42 If you are not sure about the comma, do not put it there! A final word of advice:

43 Why I think this lesson is important: At least 50% of college instructors of English DO NOT teach grammar. At least 90% of college instructors penalize students who do not use “proper grammar.” Students are counting on their teachers to make sure they have the grammar skills they need. YOU are their last stop.

44 To further support those statements: ACT National Curriculum Survey April, 2003 Groups of writing skills that college instructors believe are most important for entering college students to have –grammar and usage skills– are considered to be least important by high school teachers.

45 The theory that supports it: William Labov says that hypercorrection is a misapplication of an imperfectly learned rule. Mnemonics is a memory device that can be traced as far back as Aristotle. Moffet asserts that students learn through a procedure described as the I-You-It process.

46 Rei Noguchi: teaching minimal grammar is necessary to improve student writing minimal grammar refers to a manageable collection of a select few rules grammar should be used as an editing tool tool

47 Aristotle. Aristotle on Rhetoric: A Civic Discourse. Ed. George A Kennedy. Oxford: Oxford UP, Hartwell, Patrick. “Grammar, Grammars and the Teaching of Grammar.” College English 47 (1985): Labov, William. Sociolinguistic Patterns. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, Moffett, James. A Student-Centered Language Arts Curriculum, Grades K-6, A Handbook for Teachers. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, Noguchi, Rei. Grammar and the Teaching of Writing: Limits and Possibilities. Urbana: NCTE, “Survey Shows Writing Skills Most Important to College Teachers Not Always Emphasized in High School Instruction.” ACT Newsroom. 8 April ACT, Inc. 14 June Supporting Bibliography:

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