Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Waste Not Want Not

I've been too rushed of late to blog, but have been trying to make my peace with it. It's midterm week, which means I need to write three study guides, three tests , one new unit syllabus, two metacognitive worksheets, three new writing assignments. Then there's a backlog of papers and all those midterms to grade as well.

I used to be very anti-midterm. Then I started wanting to quantify to my students what, exactly, they had been learning. I wanted them to realize they had been mastering concrete skills and that they could carry that knowledge with them out of the classroom.

No one will ever put a gun to your head in a dark alley and say, "Quick! Is it 'everyone is' or 'everyone are'?" Before you register to vote, you won't have to circle all the subjects and underline the verbs. There won't be a section on your job application that asks you to identify the difference between showing and telling. When your boss asks you for a report, she won't give you a heuristic to help you generate ideas.

Nonetheless, that stuff matters.

I just wish it didn't require so much paperwork on my part.

Good essay today in Slate on CSAs and food waste.


Suzy Crancer said...

I used to love the intricacies of grammar so much, but have become quite sloppy in my middle age. Can you suggest any good remedial books? Than "Ron" yarn is really gorgeous. I think it would make a nifty shawl. PS I am holiday yarn shopping with Bridget today — if you're in the shop, she'd love to meet you!

That's a 7-letter Deborah, never a Deb said...

I'm sooooo sorry I missed Bridget--I didn't get in until that afternoon and you'd already gone. I hope she enjoyed her foray across the river.

As far as grammar books, part of it is just paying attention and whenever you're unsure, just looking it up in any good handbook. The mere act of looking up what we don't know gets lost.

But ... for the sheer joy of grammar, I love to read The Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed and The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed.