A clear and pervasive goal of the SDJA Humanities Department is to develop students who can be editors of their own writing. In order to effectively do this, students need the consistent exposure to and the proper language of grammar.
This year all middle school English classes are using Write Source textbooks and Skills Books to learn and practice grammar. The textbooks teach the concepts and definitions while the Skills Books offer practice for the mechanics, the usage and the skills. These books overlap concepts which helps us teach grammar through explicit instruction, looping, practice and assessment. In this sense, the curriculum teaches them to refer back to something they already know. Learning about and using nouns in 6th grade will look and should look differently than how 8th graders utilize nouns in their writing.
As we work through the Write Source curriculum, we will not only be teaching grammar, but we will be teaching thinking and organizing the mind to utilize previous knowledge in order to move forward. Whether it be in a history classroom or in a science lab, students will be writing. And if there is to be improvement, there must be awareness. The language and practice of grammar provides a common language from which we can talk, teach, learn, write and edit our work. With a combined 55 years of teaching English amongst our middle school staff, we believe this cohesive and tightly woven spiral of writing instruction will help us accomplish our goal.