Archive for the ‘Grammar & Style’ Category

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Universal Pronoun Agreement

posted: 2.21.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review material in their handbook on pronoun/antecedent agreement and sexist language. In small groups, have them discuss the various methods for avoiding sexist language in pronouns, including awkward ones like “s/he” and incorrect ones like the use of a plural pronoun with a singular antecedent. Which method is best, leaving aside the rules of grammar? How might or must language change to accommodate nonsexist language?

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Categories: Collaboration, Grammar & Style
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Grammar Gets a MySpace Page

posted: 2.5.07 by Barclay Barrios

Divide the class into groups and assign each group an element: a part of speech, a punctuation mark, or sentences. Each group will research that element in the handbook, find resources for learning about the element online, and create a page for their element on MySpace. Which other elements would be listed as friends? What connections would the elements make to each other?

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Categories: Collaboration, Finding Sources, Grammar & Style
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Condensed Drafts

posted: 2.5.07 by Barclay Barrios

Ask students to review the material on sentence types in the handbook. Then have students take a copy of their current draft (or a portion of it) and revise each sentence down to a subject and verb. Ask students to discuss their condensed drafts in groups: What’s missing when a sentence is reduced to just a subject and verb? Can they make the same argument? What sentence elements are needed for analysis?

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Categories: Argument, Collaboration, Grammar & Style
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Verb-Libs

posted: 2.5.07 by Barclay Barrios

Review sections of the handbook on verbs. Have students come in with one or two key paragraphs from their current drafts in which they have replaced the verbs with blanks (“______”). For peer revision, have peers fill in verbs and then reflect on which verbs they chose and why.

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Categories: Grammar & Style, Peer Review
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Really Using the Passive Voice

posted: 2.5.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on active and passive voice. Using a key passage from the current reading and working in small groups, have students revise each sentence in the passage into passive voice. (This will require them to identify the subject, the verb, and any objects.) Then use these revised passages in a discussion about the essay. Is the argument weaker when in passive voice? Are concepts clearer? Why or why not? Discuss how they might then use this strategy to check for fragments in their own drafts.

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Categories: Argument, Collaboration, Grammar & Style, Revising
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Replacing Commas

posted: 1.26.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students use a word processor to search their drafts for all commas and then remove them with the replace function. In peer review, have students insert the commas in their peers’ drafts, noting in the margin the section of the handbook that justifies the use of the comma in that place.

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Categories: Grammar & Style, Peer Review, Punctuation & Mechanics, Teaching with Technology
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Bigger Parts of Speech

posted: 1.26.07 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on parts of speech. Then, in groups, ask them to create new parts of speech from common combinations of the usual parts of speech. For example, using an article and a noun together might form a “nonticle”; using an adverb and an adjective together might be a “jerbad.” Each group should create rules for using this bigger part of speech, based on the rules for the parts’ smaller components.

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Categories: Collaboration, Grammar & Style
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Conjunctions and Quotations

posted: 12.18.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on conjunctions. Put the students into groups and ask each group to find quotations from the current essay and from a previous essay that seem to have some relation to each other. Ask the groups to express this relationship using only one conjunction.

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Categories: Collaboration, Finding Sources, Grammar & Style
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Slanging the Essay

posted: 12.18.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review the section of the handbook on diction or tone. In groups, ask them to identify a key passage from the essay you’re currently discussing and revise it using more informal or slang diction. Use this to prompt a discussion of the ideas of the essay and the reasons for using one kind of diction over another.

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Categories: Collaboration, Drafting, Grammar & Style, Revising
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Clearing Confusion

posted: 12.18.06 by Barclay Barrios

Handbooks often provide a list of commonly confused words and phrases (accept/except, lose/loose). As homework, assign each student a word pair and ask her or him to write a sentence that will make the meaning of the two words clear. For example, “If I don’t wear my pants loose, I lose my mind.” Collect these sentences in a single handout to distribute to the class.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Grammar & Style
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