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Contact: 937. 775.3534
Office hours by appointment.

Nancy Mack Logo Dr. Nancy Mack
Associate Professor of English
Wright State University
451 Millett Hall
3640 Colonel Glenn Highway
Dayton, Ohio 45435

Teaching Grammar with Poetry:
General Assignment Sheet 


         In the traditional classroom, parts of speech and sentence patterns are taught primarily through worksheets made up of isolated, meaningless sentences.  Students are assigned to label sentence parts or to correct usage errors such as subject verb agreement.  Over ninety years of educational research has not produced a single study to prove that this type of instruction improves writing. 
         A better alternative to the worksheet approach would be to embed grammar instruction into a meaningful writing assignment.  In order to emphasize a particular part of speech or a specific type of sentence part, students will need to write something that has a repeating element.  Poetry and picture books most often have repeating patterns that can be imitated. Jack Prelutsky’s humorous poetry often has a repeating pattern.  Although picture books may at first seem too juvenile for middle and secondary students, children’s books can be written and given as gifts to a younger grade level within the school district.  You are welcome to use your sense of humor or any artistic skills.  I will share several models of poems and picture books in class as well as other grammar writing activities.

The Assignment

         After finding and identifying a repeating pattern in a picture book or poem, you will compose your own model from which to teach a lesson.  You will create an outline of a lesson plan for your writing assignment that includes:

1.         Source Poem or Picture Book
2.         Modeling Activity
3.         Grammar Minilesson
4.         Prewriting Activity
5.         Sharing a Teacher Model
6.       Guided Writing Format
7.         A Revision Minilesson
8.         Publishing Project
9.         Assessment Criteria
10.       Curriculum Objectives

Contract Grading

         In order to permit student choice for this assignment, you may contract how much work that you want to do for this assignment.
            For a C you must complete the following: Numbers 1, 3, and 5 (A source poem or picture book, a grammar minilesson, and a teacher model).
            For a Byou must complete the following: All the requirements for a C.
            And the lesson plan headings numbered 2, 4, and 6 (A modeling activity, a prewriting activity, and a guided writing format).
            For an A you must complete the following: All of the requirements for a B.
            And the lesson plan headings numbered 7-10 (A revision minilesson, a publishing project, assessment criteria, and curriculum objectives.
            This contract assumes that the work that you do for any of the grades listed above is well-done or above average in quality.  Work that is average or below will be graded as such regardless of the contracted grade.

Nancy Mack
Wright State University

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