Monday, April 12, 2010

Something Interesting I've Started Doing Lately

I've been using Don Killgallon's Sentence Composing exercises with my sophomores. It's kind of hit-or-miss, sadly; we've just had so many days lately that have been shortened or skipped, and so I tend to cut the practice so that we can do more workshopping. I'm hoping that it will be smoother for awhile, at least. (I know that it'll get crazy again at the end of the year.)

But what I've added is that we do the exercises from Killgallon's book in class, and then I have students use their SSR books at home to find model sentences. They copy out the sentence, cite it, and then use it as the model for the exercise.

I don't know how well it's working. I'm hoping the reason that not many students are doing it is that the schedule's been so nuts. I like the idea of it, but I'm not sure it's going to play out the way that I want it to.

Perhaps part of my uncertainty comes from nerves about our Julius Caesar workshop, which we'll be doing tomorrow. I really, REALLY hope everyone shows up, because with a class this small, breaking into groups makes it teeny-tiny. I also don't have a performance location yet, since the auditorium was already spoken for.

I just - I don't know how to do it all. More writing. More free reading. More grammar instruction (connected to the reading and writing, of course). More literature. More presentation/public speaking practice. More contact with parents (this has been a FAIL for me this term). More specific, detailed feedback (and quick turnaround, of course).

I do continue to see improvements in my instruction. But I'm getting to the point where I'm less certain about the trade-offs I'm making. I feel like I'm trying to squeeze into a dress that's too small: I tuck things in over here, and I bulge out somewhere else!

Image thanks to zmama53


Mardie said...

I've been using Killgallon's sentence exercises as well. I don't know if you teach writing as well as reading, but one thing that I try to do is to get students to find a place in their writing where they might rework a sentence or two to use the structure we've just practiced. I don't do it often enough (the dress analogy applies here too), but it might get students actually using more complex structures in their writing.

love your blog,

Clix said...

aw, mardie, THANK you :D

*grin* And using it in our own writing is on the "if we get to that this year, great, if not, I'll incorporate it next year." Because we have less than six weeks left. AUGH!

too much to do!

Lightly Seasoned said...

I feel the same way about the trade-offs. Something always has to give, and I'm not sure it's the always right thing. Eventually I'll figure out this teaching thing.

Clix said...

Yes, but WHEN is "eventually"?

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