UNCC Writing Project Spring Conference

Learning all about research-based grammar instruction on a pretty day in April.


  1. Started off the morning with Writing into the Day -- a snippet from Bronx Masquerade. Then, the keynote: Jeff Anderson!!
  2. Jeff was adamant that DOL had no research to back it up. When students see incorrect models daily, that's how they will write.
  3. I loved this part -- when Jeff read the Scaredy Squirrel book. We were supposed to see teacher-selves and grammar instruction, but, I saw a different purpose, too:
  4. After some discussion, grammar seemed more "cool"!!
  5. After the morning session, we broke out for choice groups. I followed Sally Griffin to her session on "Getting Your Hands Dirty" -- using Grammar Rants to teach students more about the purposes of grammar. Sally gave a history of how modern grammar rules "evolved" -- a topic I always find fascinating. 
  6. This is the book that Sally and her colleague, Jennifer Gray referenced:
  7. The video below, though, is one of my FAVORITE grammar rants (although, until I attended Sally's session, I didn't know what to call it!). The rant is from one of my favorite Young Adult book authors -- John Green. In the video, which I've shown to my high school students before, Green chides reality-star Snooki for the poor grammar in her tweets. The thing that bothers him, he says, is that Snooki is a "celebrity" who shouldn't be celebrated due to her dismissal of "proper" grammatical rules-- she didn't code-switch to show she understands her influence.
  8. Grammar School with Snooki
  9. After lunch, it was time for more Jeff Anderson. This session was so informative -- and brought his Mechanically Inclined book to life for me.
  10. The compare/contrast step in learning about grammar seemed most important. This was a step that Anderson says he just discovered (from Marzano research) that really cemented student learning of grammatical concepts. They analyze the pattern this way BEFORE they imitate. They LEARN the grammatical objective through the CONVERSATION with each other (brain research says that TALK brings important concepts into our CONSCIENCE).
  11. I wrote this title down, too, to buy for my daughter.
  12. End of the day: Besides sessions I've been in with Lil Brannon regarding grammar instruction, this conference helped me see the value of DAILY practice with grammatical ideas. I do have problems trying to "work everything in" during the 85 minute block each day, but it's a goal for me for the rest of the year.

    And, Jennifer's tweet pretty much sums up how I feel!!    ;-)