The Common Core State Standards highlight grammar as being important to teach, which few teachers would argue. The standards do lay out what rules to teach at each grade level. However, the standards do not tell teachers how to teach those rules.
- Teach grammar in the context of writing. Rather than be an isolated unit or activity, grammar should be incorporated into writing minilessons.
- Teach grammar in the context of reading. Using mentor texts, show students how authors apply the various rules in their writing.
- Help students figure out the grammar rule. Rather than just giving students the rules and having them memorize them, provide examples that can lead students to creating those rules.
- Teach students real-world grammar, not just textbook grammar. In real life, some grammar rules change over time; we have to recognize that in our teaching.
- Don’t just teach grammar; teach students how to learn grammar. Students need to know how to be independent learners and figure things out on their own, a hallmark of the CCLS.
- Show students how grammar helps us communicate more clearly. We know students are motivated when they see relevance, so show them how poor use of grammar leads to miscommunication.
- Show students how grammar can affect our impressions of one another. Again, that real-world application. Talk about things like when you see a mistake in a fancy store’s sign, how does it impact your impression of that store?
- Avoid negative modeling if possible, and limit the amount of time spent on the wrong way to write something. Providing many poor examples might lead to those sticking in students’ heads, rather than the corrections.
- Teach students the rules, and when to break them. There are exceptions, and some are even recognized in the CCLS (i.e., Active voice is usually preferred, but in scientific writing, you may want to use passive voice…in science, sometimes the action is more important than the subject).
- Teach students the importance of audience and purpose when making language decisions. Students need to know when to use formal vs. informal language. Also, the CCLS requires students to apply grammar in increasingly sophisticated contexts.
Teachers, how are you teaching grammar according to the CCLS?
Like this article? Get email alerts when new information is available. Just click the “subscribe” button above.