GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS Geoff Barton www.geoffbarton.co.uk December 19, 2011 GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS CONTENT 1. Grammar essentials: What do you need to know about … • Improving students’ writing? • Improving their reading? 2. Some classroom ideas that work GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS What today is: • Practical, not theoretical • About grammar that makes an impact • About good English teaching, not grammar for its own sake • An approach, not knowledge GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS What today is not: • A comprehensive grammar lesson • A lecture • About quacking the parts of speech GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS The Literacy Club Language oddities GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS DOGS MUST BE CARRIED ON THE ESCALATOR GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS Please don't smoke and live a more healthy life PSE Poster GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS Sign at Suffolk hospital: Criminals operate in this area ICI FIBRES GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS Churchdown parish magazine: ‘would the congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the church labelled ‘for the sick” is for monetary donations only’ GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS TALKING POINT 1: So what grammar were you taught at your own school? 2: What grammar do you teach now, and how? GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS My approach … 1. ‘Grammar’ isn’t always a helpful term 2. Some bits of grammar are more important than others 3. Writing is where we’ll have most effect 4. Grammar knowledge is less important than grammar impact 5. Starters are great for grammar 6. Go for impact What are the essential bits of grammar needed by English teachers…? Fiction: Non-fiction: • Sentence variety for effect: • Connectives simple, compound, complex • Topic sentences • Multiple narration • Headlines / subheadings / puns • Plot - dialogue - description • Paragraph organisation - main • Location of the speech verb point … illustration … contrast • Modification • Cohesion (pronouns and • Direct / indirect speech connectives) • Figurative language • Tense • Descriptive detail • Formality / impersonal tone • Point of view • Layout features • Building an argument: generalisation, supporting points, statistics, facts, quotation LITERACY FOR LEARNING GRAMMAR FOR WRITING GEOFF BARTON www.geoffbarton.co.uk 19 December 2011 TEACHING WRITING You don’t teach writing merely through: Explore conventions •Reading aloud Demonstrate DEPENDENCE •Showing models Share composition Scaffold •Highlighting genre features Independent writing •Correcting first drafts Draw out key •Lots of bullet-points after the task learning INDEPENDENCE www.geoffbarton.co.uk TEACHING WRITING Explore Including ‘bad’ models conventions Show students the Demonstrate process of writing Share composition Correct/change/improve Scaffold it Make it collaborative Independence Move from small to Key learning larger sections www.geoffbarton.co.uk TEACHING WRITING KS3 tests 2000 Write the opening of a story about a major emergency. ‘Some people waste a lot of time and energy attempting difficult challenges, such as flying around the world in a hot-air balloon. Attempts like these are pointless, and benefit nobody.’ Write an article for your local newspaper arguing for or against this statement. www.geoffbarton.co.uk TEACHING WRITING To be truth-full I am for the I feel it is very important argument about wasting time to face challenges, as and money trying to get without challenges, the around the world in a hot air world would be a very balloon, when this time and dull place. I feel that the money could be spent on earlier challenges working with medical appear in a person’s difficulty or people who are life, the better, as there homeless. will undoubtedly be challenges in the workplace or in home Level 4 Level 7 life, and so I feel that the people who have faced challenges earlier in life get a head start over people who have not. WRITING WITH POWER An example … TEACHING WRITING The Set-Up BUILDING SUSPENSE Write the opening of a mystery story. Set it at a funeral in a wintery churchyard. √ √ √ www.geoffbarton.co.uk bad TEACHING WRITING Using models Before …. It was a bitterly cold day. Everyone was in black. The cars were black too. There were people standing around in a group waiting for the coffin. Crows were flying in the sky. It was really eerie. TEACHING WRITING Using models After …. The undertaker's men were like crows, stiff and black, and the cars were black, lined up beside the path that led to the church; and we, we too were black, as we stood in our pathetic, awkward group waiting for them to lift out the coffin and shoulder it, and for the clergyman to arrange himself; and he was another black crow in his long cloak. And then the real crows rose suddenly from the trees and from the fields, whirled up like scraps of blackened paper from a bonfire, and circled, caw-caw- ing above our heads. Susan Hill TEACHING WRITING Mess around with: • A fragmented narrative • Point of view • Tense QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Un compressed) decompressor • Sentence types are neede d to se e this picture. • Plot - description - dialogue • Speech verb GRAMMAR FOR WRITING Key points • See things as a writer, not just a reader • Explore texts actively - meddling, rewriting, editing • Demonstrate the writing process yourself • Relate everything to effect • Talk about grammar where it helps, not as an end in itself • Start with small units of writing … then build up • Encourage experimentation, risk-taking, creativity • Enjoy! LITERACY FOR LEARNING GRAMMAR FOR READING GEOFF BARTON www.geoffbarton.co.uk 19 December 2011 Grammar for reading is … •About reading, not grammar •Based on a rich variety of texts •Rooted in reading for pleasure •Not about analysis •Always linked to writing LITERACY FOR LEARNING Why do students find it harder to understand non-fiction than fiction? LITERACY FOR LEARNING Fiction is more personal. Non-fiction has fewer agents: •Holidays were taken at resorts •During the 17th century roads became straighter LITERACY FOR LEARNING Children’s fiction tends to be chronological. Fiction becomes easier to read; non- fiction presents difficulties all the way through LITERACY FOR LEARNING Non-fiction texts rely on linguistic signposts - moreover, therefore, on the other hand. Children who are unfamiliar with these will not read with the same predictive power as they can with fiction LITERACY FOR LEARNING Non-fiction tends to have more interrupting constructions: The agouti, a nervous 20-inch rodent from South America, can leap twenty feet from a sitting position Asteroids are lumps of rock and metal whose paths round the sun lie mainly between Jupiter and Mars LITERACY FOR LEARNING Fiction uses more active verbs. Non-fiction relies more on the copula (“Oxygen is a gas”) and use of the passive: Some plastics are made by … rather than We make plastics by … LITERACY FOR LEARNING Non-fiction texts have more complex noun phrases: The remains and shapes of animals and plants are lost in the myriad caves of the region LITERACY FOR LEARNING So … 1. Make non-fiction conventions explicit .. actively 2. Get English teachers to use more non-fiction 3. Read non-fiction texts aloud 4. Teach students about interrupting and long subjects, connectives, agent-avoidance! 5. Replace comprehension with DARTS (“Glombots”) LITERACY FOR LEARNING So … Oh yes … and enjoy! Reading Fiction BUILDING TENSION Brian Moore, Cold Heaven 1 The wooden seats of the little pedal boat were angled so that Marie looked up at the sky. There were no clouds. In the vastness above her a gull calligraphed its flight. Marie and Alex pedalled in unison, the revolving paddles making a slapping sound against the waves as the pedal boat treadmilled away from the beach, passing through ranks of bathers to move into the deeper, more solitary waters of the Baie des Anges. Marie slackened her efforts but Alex continued determinedly, steering the pedalo straight out into the Mediterranean. 2 ‘Let’s not go too far,’ she said. ‘I want to get away from the crowd. I’m going to swim.’ It was like him to have some plan of his own, to translate idleness into activity even in these few days of vacation. She now noted his every fault. It was as though, having decided to leave him, she had withdrawn his credit. She looked back at the sweep of hotels along the Promenade des Anglais. Today was the day she had hoped to tell him. She had planned to announce it at breakfast and leave, first for New York, then on to Los Angeles to join Daniel. But at breakfast she lacked all courage. Now, with half the day gone, she decided to postpone it until tomorrow. 3 Far out from shore, the paddles stopped. The pedalo rocked on its twin pontoons as Alex eased himself up from his seat. He handed her his sunglasses. ‘This should do,’ he said and, rocking the boat even more, dived into the ultramarine waters. She watched him surface. He called out: ‘Just follow along, okay?’ He was not a good swimmer, but thrashed about in an energetic, erratic freestyle. Marie began to pedal again, her hand on the tiller, steering the little boat so that she followed close. Watching him, she knew he could not keep up this pace for long. She saw his flailing arms and for a moment thought of those arms hitting her. He had never hit her. He was not the sort of man who would hit you. He would be hurt, and cold, and possibly vindictive. But he was not violent. 4 She heard a motorboat, the sound becoming louder. She looked back but did not see a boat behind her. Then she looked to the right where Alex was swimming and saw a big boat with an outboard motor coming right at them, coming very fast. 5 Of course they see us, she thought, alarmed, and then as though she were watching a film, as though this were happening to someone else, she saw there was a man in the motorboat, a young man wearing a green shirt; he was not at the tiller, he was standing in the middle of the boat with his back to her and as she watched he bent down and picked up a child who had fallen on the floorboards. ‘Hey?’ she called. ‘Hey?’ for he must turn around, the motorboat was coming right at Alex, right at her. But the man in the boat did not hear. He carried the child across to the far side of the boat; the boat was only yards away now. 6 ‘Alex,’ she called. ‘Alex, look out.’ But Alex flailed on and then the prow of the motorboat, slicing up water like a knife, hit Alex with a sickening thump, went over him and smashed into the pontoons of the little pedal boat, upending it, and she found herself in the water, going under, coming up. She looked and saw the motorboat churning off, the pedal boat hanging from its prow like a tangle of branches. She heard the motorboat engine cut to silence, then start up again as the boat veered around in a semicircle and came back to her. Alex? 7 She looked: saw his body near her just under the water. She swam toward him, breastroke, it was all she knew. He was floating face down, spread-eagle. She caught hold of his wrist and pulled him towards her. The motorboat came alongside, the man in the green shirt reaching down for her, but, ‘No, no,’ she called and tried to push Alex toward him. The man caught Alex by the hair of his head and pulled him up, she pushing, Alex falling back twice into the water, before the man, with a great effort, lifted him like a sack across the side of the boat, tugging and heaving until Alex disappeared into the boat. The man shouted, ‘Un instant, madame, un instant’ and reappeared, putting a little steel ladder over the side. She climbed up onto the motorboat as the man went out onto the prow to disentangle the wreckage of the pedalo. 8 A small child was sitting at the back of the boat, staring at Alex’s body, which lay face-down on the floorboards. She went to Alex and saw blood from a wound, a gash in the side of his head, blood matting his hair. He was breathing but unconscious. She lifted him and cradled him in her arms, his blood trickling onto her breasts. She saw the boat owner’s bare legs go past her as he went to the rear of the boat to restart the engine. The child began to bawl but the man leaned over, silenced it with an angry slap, the man turned to her, his face sick with fear. ‘Nous y serons dans un instant,’ he shouted, opening the motor to full throttle. She hugged Alex to her, a rivulet of blood dripping off her forearm onto the floorboards as the boat raced to the beach. BUILDING TENSION Brian Moore, Cold Heaven SIMPLE GRAMMAR STARTERS (inc prep for KS3 tests) www.geoffbarton.co.uk 7 principles www.geoffbarton.co.uk Don’t aim for false links with main lesson content No Blue Peter Do aim for coherence badges across starters Kick-start learning Emphasise collaboration & Are great for problem-solving grammar Avoid the temptation to extend the activity Mr B’s New Year Spelling Frolics -our words -re endings -able / -ible -ous endings Single/double endings consonants colour centimetre Available tremendous beginning humour centre likeable enormous upsetting rumour theatre sociable poisonous forgotten armour considerable mysterious committee flavour laughable continuous permitted sensible precious occurred humorous incredible ferocious visited terrible delicious regretful possible cautious developing responsible ambitious www.geoffbarton.co.uk -ible -able www.geoffbarton.co.uk Homophones Sound of Music Kylie Beethoven their there they’re too two to pray prey www.geoffbarton.co.uk Hard Homophones Freeze Stand advice advise practice practise effect affect It’s its www.geoffbarton.co.uk Activity I’ll say some sentences containing homophones. You tell me whether it’s list A or list B. Make up sentences – eg “The pilot of the aircraft was really rather plain”) A – stand up B – under table plain Plane weak Week steal Steel main Mane rows Rows fare Fair break Brake sew So due Jew www.geoffbarton.co.uk whether whether Mnemonics Never eat chips - eat sausage Necessary sandwiches and raspberry Separate yoghurt Disappearance Fulfil www.geoffbarton.co.uk Call My Bluff OXYMORON LITOTES www.geoffbarton.co.uk WORD CLASSES BY COLOUR VERB ADVERB NOUN ADJECTIVE PREPOSITION The cat slept heavily on the old carpet Connectives The house was looking dark …. (walk in … lights not working … hear a sound upstairs … go to explore … hear a window smash ...) And But Or www.geoffbarton.co.uk Word patterns Auto - Gh - Who can think of most words starting with these letter patterns …? www.geoffbarton.co.uk Synonyms: Who can think of most words meaning scary, big, small, nice www.geoffbarton.co.uk Semantic continuum: •Think of synonyms for house / toilet / friend •Place them in order of formal to informal www.geoffbarton.co.uk Starter 3: Autobiography Opener Paper 1 = non-fiction Expect autobiography, letter, or diary Look at this opening from an autobiography. Activity OHT What can you tell about: Writer Where the text is set What might happen next Closing sequence Discuss student responses It was on a bright day of midwinter, in New York. The little girl who eventually became me, but as yet was neither me nor anybody else in particular, but merely a soft anonymous morsel of humanity – this little girl, who bore my name, was going for a walk with her father. The episode is literally the first thing I can remember about her, and therefore I date the birth of her humanity from that day. It was really cold. The weather was awful. I was walking along the edge of the cliff and I was really scared. www.geoffbarton.co.uk GRAMMAR ESSENTIALS • Download these resources at geoffbarton.co.uk • Read the book: Grammar Survival: A Teacher’s Toolkit David Fulton Publishers Quic kTim e™ and a TIFF (Uncompres sed) decompressor are needed to s ee this pic ture. And thanks for listening!
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