(Originally posted 4/10/13)
Because it’s coming. Oh yes it is. And sometimes when we least expect it. As TPRS teachers,in our department, direct grammatical instruction is “postponed” until year three or four. By this time students have acquired a good base of language. They only need grammar if they want to be successful in a college program that will, most likely, be grammar-centric.
So, since it was coming up on the last marking period of the senior year, I thought I’d give them their first “grammar-driven” unit. I started with the subjunctive, including formal commands (positive and negative) along with the negative informal commands….and just for fun the nosotros too. Oh…making sure to add in the use and placement of direct, indirect and reflexive pronouns. (no, they don’t know the linguistic terms for those but that didn’t seem to be a problem) We’ll finish the direct study and guided practice tomorrow. They have been doing online independent practice and Friday, when half of them are on a field trip, the rest of us will head off to the computer lab for a little more time.
Where’s the joy? Well……they’re enjoying it for one. All of them, even the ones who are not college-bound or have no desire to take a college-level language course. In fact, those kids may be enjoying it more than their classmates who, after years of indoctrination, worry a little too much about getting everything right. Today I got to spend a good twenty minutes standing in the back of the computer lab watching them cheer and high-five each other when they successfully took on a number of Quia challenges on commands and the subjunctive.
(FYI, the formation and use of the subjunctive is a fairly difficult grammatical concept to teach, and the rules for creating the different kinds of commands are complex. And of course there are a slew of exceptions and irregulars)
Okay, that’s a geeky kind of joy, but it is joy nonetheless. It makes me very, very happy to see good ole farmboys and girls from our school on the hill rocking a grammar quiz.
Then, one of them turned around to me and said, “You know what’s weird Profe? None of the people who designed these games seem to care if we have any idea what these words mean. They only want to know if we put the right letters in the right places. How weird is that? Makes no sense.
Luckily we already know what they mean.”
Dance. of. joy. :o)
Lesson learned. Anticipate joy. You never know when it will show up.
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