Mention language conventions one usually gets two distinct responses. Some people think they’re of paramount importance and wish “kids today” had a better handle on conventions. Other people think using proper conventions is overrated and could care less about grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling. I have a feeling you’re somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. (Chances are you believe conventions matter if you’re a regular TWT reader!) While most of us prefer for kids to write with grade-level control of conventions, we know it’s not the only thing that matters in a piece of writing. Conventions are one of the qualities of good writing.
When I was a first-year teacher, I tried to teach language conventions to students using Daily Oral Language. Nothing about DOL was sticky. Thanks to my first literacy coach, I realized that using mentor texts to teach language conventions was far more effective. Teaching conventions in this way relies on teachers to search for exemplar sentences to study with students. This is doable, but it’s time consuming.
When children write and read, learning is orchestrated, composed, and notated. They are busy mucking about with contentions, experimenting and approximating and discovering.Jeff Anderson and Whitney La Rocca, Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language, Grades 1 – 5 (2017, 5).
Enter the Patterns-of-Power process, which is a way for teachers to engage students by become meaning makers when they write. In ten minutes a day, students are invited to learn about all aspects of language conventions. The lessons teach the fundamentals (e.g., what action verbs are, what question marks and exclamation marks do) to more nuanced conventions moves (e.g., using negative correlations, using serial commas).
As we embark upon a new school year, I thought it would be helpful to talk about conventions instruction with Jeff Anderson and Whitney La Rocca. Take a listen to the chat we had last week to get some tips about how to invite your students into becoming meaning makers of language.
In an effort to show some of the invitations Jeff, Whitney, and I talked about in the video, here are some of my daughter’s summer work samples that she did for the lesson on capitalization in letter greetings and closings.
All of the Patterns of Power resources are practical and user-friendly. If you’re looking for a resource to help you teach grammar and conventions to your students, then you’ll want to check out Patterns of Power!
- This giveaway is for a copy of ONE of the following books (winner’s choice): Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language, Grades 1 – 5, Patterns of Power en español: Inviting Bilingual Writers into the Conventions of Spanish, or Patterns of Power: Inviting Adolescent Writers into the Conventions of Language, Grades 6-8. Many thanks to Stenhouse Publishers for donating a copy of one of these books for one lucky commenter.
- For a chance to win one of the Patterns of Power books, please leave a comment about this post by Thursday, September 9th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Tuesday, September 14th.
- NOTE: You must have a U.S. mailing address to enter this giveaway.
- Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, my contact at Stenhouse will ship your book to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
- If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – PATTERNS OF POWER. Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.
Comments are now closed.
A random generator was used to select the winner of the Patterns of Power book and it will go to Kathleen Doherty.
Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.