I have discovered the importance of using strategies for helping the students think through each word of a sentence, how each word functions, and how applying what has already been learned can lead to new discoveries. Creating new habits of the mind can help in developing a greater understanding of the English language.
It is so important to encourage students to think strategically and demonstrate their understanding of the steps to take when analyzing a sentence for parts of speech, phrases, and clauses. This way of thinking can be applied to solving any real world problems or problem solving in the classroom as cross curricular connections are made.
Traditional teaching of grammar often involves textbooks or worksheets where basic identification of parts of speech is applied. This doesn't allow the authentic learning where the students create sentences as they apply grammar skills in the context of writing. This style of teaching doesn't promote strategic thinking where the students have to build sentences, placing words in order for correct sentence structure.
We have been discussing English tricks in the classroom as the students would discuss tricks to solve problems in math. Thinking is a process, and when approaching a sentence, the students have learned ways to find nouns that they usually overlook, distinguishing between action and linking verbs that has always been a challenge, and knowing what questions to ask when they want to find direct objects or objects of prepositions. This creates a better understanding of how to discover patterns within the sentences of our language that is known for being so complex.
With grammar in mind, here are some questions to ask that would reinforce or develop mathematical thinking:
* How many ways can you find ...?
* What happens when we ...?
* What kind of sentence can be made from ...?
* How many different ... can be found?
* What does this remind you of...?
* What are some examples of ...?
* What kind of pattern do you see ...?
* How can this pattern help you find....?
* What are the steps for distinguishing between......?
* How many different ways can you write this sentence?