We’re in the interminable time of year. That time from Labor Day to Veterans day when the hits just keep on coming, day after day without respite. As much as I like my students and my classroom, I’m getting tired! CELDT testing finally ended this week, which will be a relief. I was working without a prep period for the past several weeks, making sure all 233 English learners in our school got tested, and it’s taken its toll on my energy levels. I bet you were looking forward to hearing me complain, weren’t you? Well that’s it for now.
The first quarter is over already – how did that happen so fast? I wonder if we have enough routine to keep us organized, or have I completely undermined it with all my testing distraction? I think I haven’t done myself any favors in that regard but the beauty of a new quarter is we can start again. Fresh routines, nothing big to detract from them, until the next quarter ends and it’s vacation time. I always think vacation season starts on Veteran’s day and continues through February. All those president’s holidays and yeah. I’m getting head of myself here.
Last week I found some little “student books” of Daily Oral Language (DOL) prompts in a cupboard in my office. I’ve never seen these little guys before. I think they are pretty old. The paper isn’t yellow, but the concept of them is kind of old I think. DOLs are a grammar lesson program that I used when I first started teaching. I would put two sentences that had grammar errors in them up on the overhead. The students had to correct them and we’d talk about the errors. I thought it was a good way to give a daily shot of grammar without putting undue focus on it. Eventually, though, the DOL’s fell by the wayside.
I think that a highly trusted colleague thought they were not focused enough, and I could never really understand the other ones that she preferred, and so, feeling unsure of the rightness of what I was doing, I just quit doing them for a time. Then I think I read that someone thought it was a bad idea to put something that is wrong up before our students. That it would teach them wrong things. Then I went to the middle school where they were using some heinous grammar program put out by our textbook publisher and I gave up completely. I haven’t taught much grammar in recent years because it seems so futile. And boring. (TRUE CONFESSION)
I teach a little bit of it, okay? But really, I’m not going to try to teach some arcane grammar points that I don’t understand myself to seventh or eighth graders. I’m not. The thing is, I don’t understand a lot of grammar because I don’t care about it and I’m old and have had a successful career without it. I still remember my college professor who said that grammar is kind of like Trigonometry. It’s great if you like it, but not all that necessary if you don’t.
But now I have found a bunch of little student DOL books. They are so cute that I’m considering using them. I wonder if that is a bad idea, to use them because they’re cute. An archaic idea. This guy thinks they are a really bad idea. I wonder if I care. I explain everything so thoroughly, that surely they won’t miss what is right and what is wrong. What do you think about this? Are you a grammar buff who likes to spread the word? Do you agree or disagree with the idea of student correcting grammatical errors in a sentence? Is an exercise like daily sentence correction just a waste of class time? I could use a little feedback on this while I’m making my decision. I think I know the answer…but they are so darn cute!
See you soon.