I Am a Grammar Nazi

One of our school counselors gave me a shirt this morning. Everyone seems to think it’s fitting. I didn’t really think I was that bad.

But then a teacher-friend of mine says he checks his language use when he talks to me, and corrects his grammar mistakes as he makes them.

But this t-shirt makes me think about my teaching, and how I approach teaching grammar with my students.  To be perfectly honest, I find it a difficult thing to teach, and find it frustrating when I try to build upon the prior knowledge of (many) of my students’ first languages, except that they have little to no foundation in terms of grammar in Spanish.

I really want to try the Killgallon sentence-composing method, and integrate vocabulary instruction with the grammar instruction. So I could, for example, teach synonyms for “pretty” (I like to teach categorized words. It helps my culturally and linguistically diverse students make connections to their prior knowledge) and some of the writing we do can center around the words and sentence structures we’re learning.

I fear being too dictatorial with student writing. When I taught older students, variation of sentence structure wasn’t an issue. Even when I started teaching 8th grade, it wasn’t an issue.  But more and more I’m finding my students are having difficulties composing detailed paragraphs. So we take steps to help them. I’m just trying to find the best way to do that.

I think that teaching grammar (or at least how to write and vary sentence structure) and vocabulary together will help my students internalize both, placing them on the path to become better writers, readers, and communicators.

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