Mentor sentences are one way to study grammar in context, but not the only avenue.
Try inductive learning approaches, and focus on the grammatical concepts you are teaching when conferring with writers.
Some people have interpreted the “teach grammar in context” movement to mean that direct instruction no longer has a place.
I’ve found that to begin studying a new concept, students need a mini lesson.
as the “skunk at the garden party.” Throughout time, grammar instruction has changed.
This purpose of this post is not to debate why we should teach grammar. Grammar is an important part of the English subject area, and it needs to be taught. I’ve found the best thing to do when research conflicts is to educate myself.If you’re reading a whole-class text, take time to study the author’s craft.How does the author’s sentence structure impact the meaning or style of the passage?Teaching grammar in isolation means that students don’t learn how to transfer their command of grammar to reading, writing, and life. I frequently see people ask questions about why we teach certain grammar concepts, like parts of speech and parts of sentences.Instruction is focused specifically on verbs, for instance, and students never spend time analyzing author’s verb choices or intentionally playing with their word choice to apply grammar understanding. Because they are not directly relatable to life (for students), it’s understandable why this question would emerge.Parts of sentences (like direct objects and predicate nominatives) are stepping stones for phrases and clauses. Students need to understand their addition and multiplication facts. It helps us to develop frames of reference and to make associations. There are certain grammar concepts students need to know, and it’s just not practical for them to look up a list of prepositions every time they try to analyze or write a sentence.Without those, it is difficult to learn more complex problems, such as those they experience in algebra. Consider this example: it is a fragment if they have memorized their subordinating conjunctions and understand dependent clauses. I do everything I can to avoid killing students’ love for learning. Worksheets, in moderation, are an important way to make that happen. If we keep grammar lessons at a basic level, we aren’t giving students what they need most: transfer learning.I have experimented with many educational trends, mostly because I love trying new things. However, one bandwagon I’ve never jumped on is the one where we do away with all worksheets. I love making learning fun just as much as the next person, but I’ve seen the effectiveness of a scaffolded worksheet. Plus, there is no shortage of ways to make a worksheet interactive. Show them how playing with language makes an essay hook or clincher powerful.Compare and contrast grammatical rules for formal and informal writing.Usually, this lesson takes place during class, but sometimes I create a flipped video for them to watch outside of class. Direct instruction is an effective way to lay a solid foundation and common understanding of a grammatical concept.Direct instruction is sometimes confused with isolation.