Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Use and Contribute to this Blog Resource for Teachers

This blog is both a forum for collaboration and a resource for language arts teachers to use. Please use the sentences you find here as models for exploration and imitation in your classrooms, and add to them as you find strong examples through your personal and class readings. Use the sidebar to the left to view or add to the collected sentences.

The idea for the blog grew from a conversation at one of Jeff Anderson's workshops. Jeff is the author of Mechanically Inclined: Building Grammar, Usage, and Style into Writer's Workshop, a very practical and valuable exploration of grammar and writing instruction. Through discussion of how to promote positive development of students' grammar knowledge and writing style, Jeff encouraged us as teachers to find powerful model sentences in the stories and books we read, and to present these sentences to our students as models for discussion (what he calls "noticing") and imitation. When teachers asked if there is a collection of these model sentences somewhere, the idea for this blog was born. Jeff's second book, Everyday Editing: Inviting Students to Develop Skill and Craft in Writer's Workshop, also holds many lessons to help you teach editing outside of the "vacuum" of canned instruction.

Use in the Classroom: These are meant to be noteworthy sentences from published authors that students can examine ("What things do you notice about this sentence?") and imitate ("Now you try it, using this sentence as an example.") within the context of writing instruction of all types. Some sentences could also serve as leads, prompts, or stems for journal entries or more formal writing assignments.

Organization of Blog: In the left sidebar, I have grouped these entries in a variety of ways, knowing that teachers look for sentences for many reasons. There is a general "Best Sentences Ever" Section, and below that there are numerous more specific categories of the following titles: Parts of Sentences (with subheadings of Parts of Speech, Phrases, and Clauses), Purpose of Sentences, Structure of Sentences, Length of Sentences, Syntax Techniques, Figurative Language, Sound Devices, Literary Techniques, Punctuation, and Style/Voice.

How to use this site as a resource: Use the links in the left sidebar to select a category of sentences. Once on the category page, click on individual types of sentences to view or add sentences. Read the "Comments" to find sentences relevant to your current search.

How to contribute to this resource: Below any post about a type of sentence, click on the "Comments" link, and type the sentences according to the following directions. Please write out your selected sentence(s) in quotations, followed by the name of the author, the work in which these lines appear, and the page number(s) on which these lines appear. Please proofread before posting. NOTES: Colorful quotations are wonderful, but please try to make sure they are also appropriate. If you have a strategy that has worked well with this particular sentence you are posting, you may also include a brief description of that strategy.

Thanks for contributing! If you have a comment or suggestion, you may email me at lswolter@gmail.com.