Monday, October 29, 2007

Defy Logic, I Dare Ya!

In a district that is hell-bent on promoting literacy, does it make sense for them give our librarians, or as the more PC like to say, media specialists, the axe? Well, that's exactly what they've done. Many elementary schools are having to share a librarian between 2 schools and for the other half it is staffed by a para.
Does it make sense in a district hell-bent on promoting literacy, creating life-long learners and Relevance and Rigor in its curricula (um?) to outlaw the use of a dictionary? The person who is in charge of all the language arts teachers in the district, K-12 informed them at Friday's inservice that she had better not catch ANY of them using a dictionary in class. Because, heaven forbid high school students from taking responsibility for their own learning and actually looking up the definition of a word ... in a dictionary. She seems to think the teacher should give them the definitions in easier to understand terms. Brings to mind an image of a mama bird eating, then regurgitating what she ate into the baby birds' mouths.
Oh, and absolutely no grammar taught in isolation- no grammar worksheets whatsoever.
She claims that there is absolutely no scientific evidence that would support their use. I want to know if there is scientific evidence prooving their harm. Personally, I learned a bit of grammar from some drill and kill worksheets. Now if that's the ONLY thing a person does, then I see reason to expand, move on, do something else. But, the occasional worksheet, much like an obligatory green vegetable, is necessary.

Evidently, this woman read someone's book and now has hitched her wagon and everyone else's to its star. I think they should make their own wagon train. ( 10 points extra credit if you get the reference)


Blogger Profesora de español said...

Sometimes the kids need grammar taught in isolation, but somewhere along the way someone told someone else, who thought the first person was brilliant, that grammar shouldn't be taught the "old school" way. I don't know where they got their "scientific evidence" that proves grammar in isolation is wrong because if you look at a paper my mother (who's in her mid-fifties) writes and compare it to many people in their mid-twenties, you'll see that the "old school" way of diagraming sentences and learning grammar worked well and SHOULD still be taught in our schools.

One of the things I tell my students at the beginning of the year in every level (1 through AP) is that they will inevitably learn more English grammar (and Spanish of course) in my class than they've ever learned (or will learn) in their English classes. It's such a shame. We foreign language teachers should be getting paid to do two jobs.

10/29/2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger Adeline said...

My lands, no dictionaries. Man alive. I am in the process of trying to acquire them for my ELL's. I am scratching my head why it is so hard to get a friggin bilingual dictionary or two in an ELL class.

I am sorry for the lack of sense. They have long been axing librarians around here, and I for the life of me cannot figure out why. Our librarian taught me how to do MLA citation on a quick and easy website. She does alot...I mean one per school? Is that so much? We also have to share school nurses. We had a good chuckle with a "memory lane" power point of our school, apparently when it opened in the 50s with 1500 kids there were no fewer than 5 school nurses (what the?) and now there is one non nurse part time that works the "health room"

strange. sometimes i think the reason why school have trouble making headway is because of all the ridiculous changing expectations. Now jump here, now do this, now make these portfolios, now get these test scores...or else!

10/29/2007 10:06 PM  
Blogger Adeline said...

oh and i forgot to mention about the nurses, now the school has 3000 kids.

10/29/2007 10:07 PM  
Blogger Professor J said...

I know there are many, many studies that say that grammar taugh in isolation does not teach writing. However, grammar exercises do sharpen skills. They don't teach writing; they do teach correctness--nothing says you can't have both.

10/29/2007 10:13 PM  
Blogger HappyChyck said...

Oh how I miss the old Warriners! Of course, I hated it when I was in school...

I have a couple of copies kicking around--and even the worksheets. I drag them out sometimes when my students need more practice. Our grammar textbook is great for introducing a concept, but there are few problems to practice. Sometimes 5 doesn't cut it. Sometimes doing 20 works better so students can see the pattern. Got the pattern? Got the rule? Use it in your writing. My Warriners are 11th and 12th grade level. I have used them with my 8th graders. For a lot of concepts, it was simply necessary for me to provide more examples and practice. Drill and kill? Sure. Whatever you call it.

Flexibility, balance, and instructional options...that's what I like the best.

10/30/2007 12:48 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

Good gracious, getting rid of dictionaries? That's just plain stupid.

10/30/2007 8:38 PM  

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