Fire-Starter: Making grammar practice personal

Peggy Hart, a teacher from Massachusetts, writes in to propose a homework assignment with a social element, in order to draw students into identifying sentence fragments and run-on sentences. “We are always asking students to self-edit their work for spelling, punctuation, run-on sentences, and the like,” she writes. But instead of having them practice on a page full of sentences she provides, Peggy asks them to analyze and correct an example from their own or a friend’s writing. Take a look at her Grammar Homework Fire-Starter and send in your thoughts!

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2 thoughts on “Fire-Starter: Making grammar practice personal

  1. This looks like a great way to reinforce grammar rules while still letting the students focus on what they and their peers want to say, instead of on sample sentences that may not have meaning for them. I also appreciate how easily I would be able to adapt this to my foreign language classroom. Many of my students seem more engaged when we are using student work as examples and non-examples. Having students correct their own work and develop a focused vocabulary about the topic (in this case, grammar) can also help them see their own improvement over time.

    In the case of English grammar, I could see coupling this kind of exercise with a discussion of code-switching. I would be worried that some students may get the feeling that the way they speak and write is wrong, and a discussion of speaking and writing differently based on your situation could help them feel more comfortable. I would not want them to come away from this assignment thinking that they have to change how they communicate with friends and family. Maybe text messages would be a good example of writing that is appropriate in one context, but not in another.

  2. Great idea to use texting as a form of code-switching. Maybe your students could make a translator’s guide to texting, with one side of the page in text and the other in formal English. Good way to prove that they can thrive in college and career without giving up their txt-spk?

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