Convention or Rule?

Did you know that a convention is not the same as a rule?

Did you know that there is a stage of development in the acquisition of grammar and conventions learning called slippage that results from all of the time children spend on phones and other devices?

Did you know that teaching and learning conventions and grammar can be fun and engaging for kids and teachers?

My colleagues and I spent a day with Katie Clement and Mike Ochs (two talented Staff Developers from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project)  this week learning all about how to teach for conventions and grammar in ways that are meaningful, fun (yes, fun!) and promote transfer.  We learned about teaching methods, stages of development, transfer research, tool making, and a variety of ways we might think about when and how to teach upper elementary students about grammar and conventions.

There was so much to take away from this day of learning, but, for me, one of the most powerful comments was this one:

“Every student enters the classroom with their own brilliance.”

I just think we need to constantly remind ourselves that EVERY student comes to us with so much, and we must honor and celebrate all that they bring. I’m a die hard constructivist, so when Mike Ochs suggested that when we look at student work, we ask ourselves these three questions (What do they know?  What are they approximating?  What are they not doing yet, but are ready for?), I was thrilled!



5 thoughts on “Convention or Rule?”

  1. I love that quote… “Every student enters the classroom with their own brilliance.” So powerful. Brilliance can mean so much in different circumstances in life. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’ve heard Mary Ehrenworth talk about slippage and it’s so important to consider. Love the reminder that every student has their own brilliance. Sometimes we all get too caught up in capitals and periods!

    1. Last week I modeled a lesson on capitalization (I actually tried out a lesson that was recently on TWT!) in a third grade classroom. The students talked about how you might capitalize words for effect, like WOW! I added that to the chart. I proceeded to talk about when NOT to use capital letters. I mentioned that we were seeing some capital letters in the middle of words. To that a child replied, “What if I want to write aNd because I want the reader’s voice to go up in the middle of the word? Talk about brilliance!

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