Many of you mentioned grammar/punctuation/spelling/conventions as areas of concern at conferences. I wanted you know that I heard you!! Trust me-- it's a concern of mine as well. Students don't know the "rules" of grammar, and it shows in their writing. Unfortunately, teaching them the rules is usually completely ineffective because even if they memorize the rules, they fail to adequately apply them to their own writing. Research shows time and time again that the only truly effective way for students to improve their grammar is to see more good writing. They need to READ!
A recent experience with a neighbor inspired me to rethink my grammar instruction, and I blogged about my plan for the Oakland Schools Literacy website. You can read my post here if you're interested. I've got some ideas for targeted grammar instruction coming in the month of December. Keep your eyes peeled for more details as the month goes on.
Mrs. Hattie Maguire