“...unless you also felt sure both that what you had to say would be listened to seriously and that you weren’t likely to commit any egregious nails-on-the-chalkboard kinds of mistakes (c’est je, that sort of thing) in trying to speak or write it.” Joseph Harris, "Error"
|Picture from Creative Education|
|Photo from Toward A Simple Life blog|
I find it interesting that the Common Core State Standards for teaching composition do not emphasize grammar heavily over the time they spend developing the standards for focus, organization, and style (yes, still very current-traditionalist in its focus). However, when I ask my students about where they need help in their writing at the beginning of each semester, an overwhelming number of them mention grammar. When we peer edit, most of my students want to focus on editing grammar and mechanics instead of revising content. Clearly school has taught them that writing well is about using correct grammar. But what is the alternative? How else can we teach early writers - first, second, third grade students - to spend more time supporting their ideas and developing their style, not dismiss grammar, but to be less focused on it to the exclusion of everything else?