So, how do we, as teachers, make that connection visible? That's the question.
I've been researching books on grammar pedagogy for a few years now, and my personal favorites are Jeff Anderson's Mechanically Inclined, Robert Cahill's Stack the Deck, and Harry Noden's Image Grammar, the latter which I am going to talk about today.
What I really like about Noden's approach is that it is so visual. He draws an analogy between the way a painter paints (using various brush strokes to create interest) and the way a writer writes (using various grammatical structures to create interest). To me, the analogy makes so much sense. After all, aren't we, as writers, trying to help our readers visualize our setting, our characters, our argument?Noden introduces five basic "brush strokes" of writing, which are the foundation of grammar instruction in my classroom: adjectives out-of-order, appositives, absolutes, participial phrases, and vivid action verbs. All of these concepts are mentioned in my grade-level Common Core standards, so Image Grammar is an approach that you can really get behind and get district support for. Also, once you've covered the basics, Noden provides plenty of ways that you can up the rigor and have students super-charge their writing.
Today, I'm sharing my Brush Stroke Notes. (Just click on the hyperlink to access them as a PDF file.) I created them using Power Point. Visually, they are very simple, but they print nice and clean on colored paper, or white paper for students to color or highlight. I print them out with two slides per sheet, and they end up being the perfect size for cutting out and gluing into an interactive notebook!
If you already use Noden's Image Grammar, I hope that these will help you and your students. If you don't already know about Noden's approach to grammar, I highly recommend that you go to Amazon and buy Image Grammar right now. It really will transform the way you teach grammar!