Our district has grammar expectations based on the Common Core standards. In 6th grade, because we no longer have a writing workshop, where the grammar instruction lives is to be determined building by building.
Last year I started a new structure of taking one or a half of a Social Studies period per week to devote to explicit grammar instruction. The approach of integrating it or fitting it in where you see fit was just not working.
SO… it has been a very interesting path which brings me to today.
We were talking analogies. I had a bit of PTSD of SAT prep in high school revisit me as I prepared for today, but alas, got over it. We opened up our grammar notebooks, made an adorable accordion book with the different types of structures for analogies, and begin to play a game to practice. We discussed the different categories and why the words fit and what other words could fit, what other analogies we could create. I even heard “This is fun!”
Here’s the thing… I don’t remember EVER being taught that analogies fit into different categories. Just simply that you have to figure out the relationship. How can that be? It was not until I searched for the different types of analogies that I discovered all the types.
You see, I have found other gaps in my own instruction as I have focused on grammar instruction.
Just a few weeks ago I taught the kids about objective and subjective pronouns… and taught them the trick of eliminating the first person to get to the right response… for example, Sally and I went to the store. Eliminate Sally and you have to say “I” went to the store. That was my trick… I had no foundational information on why… it just was.
UNTIL I prepped for teaching objective and subjective pronouns… THEN I realized Oh, it’s the subject of the sentence… that’s why it’s I! Again, how can it be that I didn’t know this?
I think, in large part, it’s due to us being teachers of many things, and masters of many, but not all. We can’t know everything about everything. But as I have really focused on grammar instruction, I have learned SO much about the gaps in my own learning.
SO that is my truth… I know it may not seem big, but as teachers, I think we hide our truths daily. Curriculum that confuses us. Practices that we don’t quite understand. Or even content that we teach, but don’t really fully understand.
My message: Share your truth… it will be freeing and perhaps someone can help you along the way.