Do you teach grammar during your writing workshop time? If I were to ask you what you are teaching in writing this week, would it be a list of grammar skills such as capitalization, punctuation, and parts of speech?
Grammar and writing go hand in hand, right?
And that is why you are wondering why I decided to stop teaching grammar during my writing workshop time.
I can honestly say that having a dedicated grammar lesson and a dedicated writing lesson helped my students to improve in both areas.
Here is why…
Students need dedicated grammar lessons.
Nouns! Verbs! Adjectives! Oh my!
Seriously grammar is scarier than lions, tigers and bears combined. If I am being completely honest, I often get confused by grammar rules in the English language. You’ve got adverbs modifying verbs and sometimes they aren’t acting as an adverb because they have an object and therefore they are a preposition. Seriously?!!
Grammar is hard.
The only way that my students stand a chance at mastering the long list of grammar standards is if they have dedicated lessons that break down the skills into small chunks. My students need to spend an entire week talking about nouns. They need another week about regular plural nouns and a third week to learn about irregular plural nouns. (You can click HERE to see my exact ELA pacing guide.)
Identifying the nouns in their writing will only be possible, AFTER I have taught these lessons.
Trying to squeeze the grammar skills into my writing workshop will lead to more confusion and frustration and less mastery. It would be like teaching multiplication before addition and just assuming they would pick up the addition skills when doing the repeated addition strategy. It just isn’t going to work.
Therefore, I dedicated 10 minutes per day to just grammar. I made it engaging, but also kept it simple. You can click HERE to read more about my grammar routine.
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There is more to writing than grammar.
From time to time, I will ask my amazing teacher Facebook groups what they are teaching this week in writing. The most common answer is “how to write a sentence.”
I get it. Students are still forgetting capital letters and punctuation. They struggle to include a complete thought, or they have run-on sentences. It can be super frustrating because we have been talking about these things since day one.
But there is so much more to writing, than these mechanics.
I want my students to learn about small moments, leads, juicy words, citing evidence, strong opinion statements,, conclusions, and so much more.
In fact, take a look at your writing rubric. I’ll wait while you grab it.
Seriously. I am waiting.
If you don’t have a rubric, click HERE to grab mine for free.
Now I want you to look at the categories on the rubric. How many of them are about mechanics and grammar?
Typically there is one category that includes spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics.
Sure, grammar makes writing better. However, if we are spending a big chunk of our writing time teaching grammar skills, it eats up all of the time that you need to teach writing content.
I want to grow a love for writing.
How many of your students LOVE writing workshop time?
There were years that I only had one or two students who actually liked writing. I honestly think that is common in most classrooms.
But it doesn’t have to be the way it is in your classroom!
We can, and should, be helping our students to develop a love for writing.
It isn’t even that complicated. Students love writing when they are given time to write, the freedom to choose their topic, and positive support to improve their writing. Throw in some fun writing utensils and a writing celebration now and again and you will have excited writers!
But, you want to know something that is not fun?
A worksheet where students have to correct sentences will never be fun.
Grammar is a must, but don’t let it take the place of a quality writing workshop.
What should I teach during writing workshop?
I think that many teachers spend their writing time teaching grammar because they aren’t all that sure what else they should teach. I know I felt that way!
I struggled for many years with coming up with writing lessons for my students. I swear I did not learn how to be a great writing teacher in college! I feel like I missed that class. Anyone else?
The good news is that I created a free guide for you. It includes a list of writing lessons and ideas for your writing workshop. Click HERE to grab the guide.
If you want to take this a step further, I have created daily lesson plans for writing workshop. The plans include mentor text passages, anchor charts, and student printables. I want this to be so easy for you!
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We have to teach grammar. We have to teach writing. Sometimes they go together like tacos and Tuesdays. But don’t forget that tacos taste just as amazing on Wednesday–which is really just my weird way of saying that you don’t always have to mix grammar and writing.
Have a Not So Wimpy day!